Biden Administration Says It’s Staying Out of Speaker Fight

Biden Administration Says It’s Staying Out of Speaker Fight
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at the daily press briefing at the White House on Oct. 2, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The White House says it wants nothing to do with the fight over who will be second in line to the presidency.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Oct. 2 that President Joe Biden is staying out of any fight for Speaker of the House. President Biden, who served in the Senate for almost five decades, has no “vote in this matter,” she said.

In an interview with journalist John Harwood, President Biden chided House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“The Speaker’s made a terrible bargain. In order to keep the speakership, he’s willing to do things that he, I think, he knows are inconsistent with the constitutional processes,” he said.

“There is a group of MAGA Republicans who genuinely want to have a fundamental change in the way that the system works,” President Biden continued. “And that’s what worries me the most.”

The Speaker fight “is something for House Republicans to decide,” said Ms. Jean-Pierre, who took a shot at the lower congressional chamber.

“Look … there is chaos in House Republicans. I mean, what we saw this weekend should not have happened. It should not have happened,” she said, referring to the U.S. government being saved from shutting down at the 11th hour with a 45-day continuing resolution.

Their ‘Basic, Basic, Basic Duty’

“I mean, thank goodness that the government is open and that critical programs are now moving forward,” she continued. “But they should have never marched us to the brink that they did.

“And it is their basic, basic, basic duty to keep the government open. And so we’re just not going to get involved. That is for House Republicans to decide.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has announced that he will file a motion to oust Mr. McCarthy, setting up another intra-party fight.

On the House floor on Oct. 2, Mr. Gaetz said President Biden has been taking Mr. McCarthy’s “lunch money.”

Mr. Gaetz, who has been in Congress since 2017, told CNN on Oct. 1—one day after the United States averted a government shutdown—that the 45-day continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government was the impetus for his announcement.

“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January,” he said.

“And since then, he has been in brazen repeated material breach of that agreement. This agreement he made with Democrats to really blow past a lot of the spending guardrails we had set up is a last straw.”

Mr. Gaetz went on to claim: “Overnight, I learned that Kevin McCarthy had a secret deal with Democrats on Ukraine. So as he was baiting Republicans to vote for a continuing resolution without Ukraine money, saying that we were going to jam the Senate on Ukraine, he then turns around and makes a secret deal.”

Ms. Jean-Pierre appeared to deny there was a side deal. Mr. McCarthy told reporters on Oct. 2 that there was no side deal.

During his House floor speech decrying the approved spending bill, Mr. Gaetz blasted what he called a “yellow brick road paved by Speaker McCarthy.”

Border Security Measures

The House on Sept. 29 failed to pass a continuing resolution as 21 Republicans, including Mr. Gaetz, joined Democrats to reject a one-month funding bill that would have included border security measures. The legislation would have been dead on arrival in the Senate anyway.

The 165-page bill, called the “Continuing Appropriations and Border Security Enhancement Act, 2024,” was released on Sept. 29 and would have reduced funding by almost 8.13 percent for almost all 12 appropriations—bringing the total amount of spending to $1.59 trillion. It would have run through Oct. 31.

These appropriations are Agriculture-Food and Drug Administration; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Department of Defense; Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act; Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies; legislative branch; Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies; Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

The only ones that would have been exempt from the almost 8.13 percent cut would be the Defense Department, Veterans Affairs Department, and disaster relief.

The legislation included border security measures such as resuming border wall construction, which President Biden suspended on Jan. 20, 2021—the day he took office—in what was a repudiation of his predecessor Donald Trump’s hardline border and immigration policies.

The CR does not include funding for Ukraine amid its war with Russia.

On Sept. 28, with 117 Republicans voting no, 101 Republicans joined all 210 Democrats to pass a bill that would provide $300 million in assistance to the Eastern European country.

During his appearance on “State of the Union,” Mr. Gaetz dropped his bombshell news about trying to oust the Speaker.

‘We Need to Rip Off the Band-Aid’

“I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week,” he said. “I think, I think we need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy.”

Mr. Gaetz accused Mr. McCarthy of going back and forth on issues and not keeping promises.

“Look, the one thing everybody has in common is that nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy. He lied to Biden. He lied to House conservatives. He had appropriators marching to a different number altogether,” he said.

“And the reason we were backed up against shutdown politics is not a bug of the system, it’s a feature,” continued Mr. Gaetz.

“Kevin McCarthy’s goal was to make multiple contradictory promises, to delay everything, back us up against shutdown politics and, at the end of the day, blow past the spending guardrails he agreed to.”

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Mr. McCarthy had a response to Mr. Gaetz: Game on.

Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Gaetz’s wanting to get the gavel out of his hand is “nothing new” and that he has sought to do so since Mr. McCarthy ran for Speaker in January. He eventually won the post after 15 rounds of balloting and many concessions to the hardline Freedom Caucus, including lowering the threshold for putting forth a motion to vacate to just one member.

“I’ll survive. You know, this is personal with Matt,” said Mr. McCarthy. “Matt voted against the most conservative ability to protect our border, secure our border.

“He’s more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something. He wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district with all the military people there who would not be paid only because he wants to take this motion.

“So be it. Bring it on. Let’s get over with it. Let’s start governing again.”

“Retreat is never a strategy to win anything,” said Mr. Gaetz in his House floor speech.

Whether House Democrats will come to Mr. McCarthy’s rescue is to be determined. Many scenarios have been speculated. One of them could be Mr. McCarthy supporting $24 billion in supplemental Ukraine assistance the Biden administration has requested. Additionally, Democrats want to avoid being seen as siding with Mr. Gaetz, though they could vote “present.”

Following Mr. Gaetz’s speech, Rep. Marianette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) said that a motion to vacate would “derail” the appropriations process and the impeachment inquiry of President Biden.

As to when exactly Mr. Gaetz will file the motion to vacate, as he said in that speech: “Stay tuned.”

From The Epoch Times

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