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Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a motion to vacate that will trigger a vote that could oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy within the next two days.
After threatening to do so for weeks, the Florida Republican filed his motion on the House floor Monday night.
GOP leadership now must hold a vote within the next 48 hours.
McCarthy had a brief response for Gaetz’s measure: ‘Bring it on,’ he wrote on X.
The House has not had to contend with a motion to vacate since 1910 with then-Speaker Joe Cannon. Former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., drew one up for then-Speaker John Boehner but he never filed it and Boehner resigned.
Asked who he could support for speaker, Gaetz mentioned Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is currently battling blood cancer.
Asked directly if he would refuse a deal with Democrats to avoid being ousted, McCarthy sidestepped: ‘I think this is about the institution. I think it’s too important.’
Gaetz spoke on the House floor Monday where he accused McCarthy of a ‘secret side deal’ to offer more funding to Ukraine and teased the motion to vacate may come ‘later this week.’
McCarthy has long said that Gaetz has a personal vendetta against him because the Ethics Committee is currently probing Gaetz for several allegations, including illicit drug use, sexual misconduct and misusing campaign funds.
‘Anytime somebody has an ethics complaint and they cant get the way they want about it … I believe Nancy Pelosi said this isn’t good for the House.’
The Florida Republican predicted McCarthy would cut a deal with Democrats, where enough would vote against the motion to offset any Republican opposers.
‘One thing I’m at peace with is when we stand here a week from now, I won’t own Kevin McCarthy anymore. He won’t belong to me. If the Democrats want to adopt him, they can adopt him,’ Gaetz said after filing the motion.
The speaker has seemed confident that he would survive such a motion in comments to the press. Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he has not spoken yet this week with McCarthy and did not say if Democrats would help the speaker out.
Gaetz previously said a motion to vacate would come ‘shot, chaser’ if McCarthy put a continuing resolution on the House floor.
That’s exactly what happened over the weekend – the speaker realized there would not be a consensus to pass a Republican-only continuing resolution and put up a bipartisan one that passed at the 11th hour to avert a government shutdown.
McCarthy slapped back at Gaetz on Monday morning and said he was concerned by reports he wants to give Democrats subpoena power
Matt Gaetz has again threatened to try and oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House – but said he would wait until later this week.
The deal did not include money for Ukraine, but now Gaetz is honing in on a ‘secret side deal’ he accuses McCarthy of having cut with President Biden.
McCarthy denied the side deal.
‘I was asked to make sure that the [weapons] transferability … that if the continuing resolution doesn’t do that we will fix that. It’s something we do all the time.’
He hinted that Ukraine aid could be used as leverage to get border security concessions.
‘I have always supported arming Ukraine, that’s not sending money to Ukraine, that’s arming Ukraine the weaponry to defend. But I think it’s very important with the number of Americans who are dying that we get the border done.’
It’s expected that between 20 and 30 Republicans could vote to oust the speaker.
Reps. Chip Roy and Byron Donalds, both members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus that is frequently at odds with McCarthy, both said it isn’t the time for the motion.
Roy said on radio with Sean Hannity that it’s only the ‘third quarter.’ ‘I think that the speaker deserves the ability to finish this process,’ Roy added, referring to the effort to pass spending bills.
Donalds called the the motion to vacate threat a ‘major distraction.’
‘I understand where Matt is, but I just think it’s the wrong fight at the wrong time.’