Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz on Monday evening filed a motion to vacate against Rep. Kevin McCarthy that, if passed, would oust the Republican leader from his position as Speaker of the House.
The resolution to remove the speaker follows a face-off between Gaetz and McCarthy over Congress’ annual appropriations approvals, and the House must now vote on whether to keep McCarthy on as speaker.
On Saturday, after days of infighting amongst House Republicans, and hours before the Oct. 1 deadline to approve a spending package, the House approved a 45-day extension that would (for now) avoid a shutdown. The decision did not sit well with Gaetz and a gaggle of hairline Republicans, who had demanded that McCarthy bring each of the 12 annual appropriations bills to the floor for individual debates and votes — and had threatened him with a motion to vacate if he backed an extension of existing funding levels.
Gaetz addressed the floor of the lower chamber on Monday, and accused McCarthy of extending “Joe Biden’s spending, and Joe Biden’s policy priorities.”
“It is going to be difficult for my Republican friends to keep calling President Biden feeble while he continues to take Speaker McCarthy’s lunch money in every negotiation,” Gaetz added. Later Monday morning, Gaetz told reporters that he had consulted former President Donald Trump regarding his move against McCarthy.
On Sunday, Gaetz told CNN that he felt it was time for Republicans to “rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that will be trustworthy.”
Gaetz accused McCarthy of reneging on promises made to members of the Republican House majority when they — despite loud objections from Gaetz and members of the Freedom Caucus — elected him speaker. McCarthy made a series of promises and concessions to secure his gavel, including a change to House rules that lowered the number of representatives required to bring a motion to vacate against the speaker to one. It’s a concession Gaetz is now all too happy to use.
Regardless of if McCarthy is actually worried about Gaetz’s challenge, he’s publicly attempting to present an unfazed front.
“If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” he said during a press conference on Saturday. “There has to be an adult in the room.”