McCarthy Says He Won’t Ask Democrats for Help to Keep House Speaker Job

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
October 3, 2023Congress
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McCarthy Says He Won’t Ask Democrats for Help to Keep House Speaker Job
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to members of the media in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 2, 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Oct. 3 he is not trying to hammer out a deal with Democrats in his bid to keep his job as speaker.

“The Democrats are going to have their caucus. They’re going to decide what they’re going to do. And we will live with whatever happens,” Mr. McCarthy said on CNBC.

“I’m not asking for any special deal or anything else,” he also said.

Some Republicans are seeking to remove Mr. McCarthy from the House’s top post. They don’t like how he handled the battle over the looming government shutdown that resulted in a 45-day bipartisan stopgap funding bill that averted a shutdown, at least for now.

Mr. McCarthy said he took a risk to keep the government open and payments flowing to soldiers and workers.

“I firmly believe it’s the right decision to keep government open, to make sure our military is still paid, our border agents are still paid, and if that makes a challenge based upon whether I should be speaker, I’ll take that fight,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said he spoke to Mr. McCarthy but declined to get into specifics.

“It was a private conversation that we had, and we’ve had multiple private conversations over the last several months,” Mr. Jeffries said on MSNBC.

Democrats planned to discuss the effort to oust Mr. McCarthy during a caucus meeting in the morning, according to Mr. Jeffries.

Democrat members are having trouble trusting Republican leadership and Republicans overall, he added later.

Mr. McCarthy said he has a good relationship with Mr. Jeffries and said he views the upcoming vote with a focus on Republicans.

“Will I get removed because four or five republicans join with all the Democrats? I mean, that’s the question here,” he said.

Speaking to reporters before the vote, Mr. McCarthy indicated he does not expect any support from Democrats.

“If five Republicans vote with Democrats, then I’m out,” he said. “If you throw a speaker out that has 99 percent of their conference, that kept government [open] and paid the troops, I think we’re in a really bad place for how we’re going to run Congress,” Mr. McCarthy also said.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said on Fox News that his conscience is telling him to oust Mr. McCarthy, with complaints including a failure to pass a budget.

“We’ve got a lot of problems, and spending is definitely one of them, we need somebody in leadership to say ‘enough is enough,’ and we’re not seeing it,” he said.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who opposed the stopgap bill, said on X that Mr. McCarthy “is out of line with the commitments that got him elected.”

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), the Republican deputy whip, was among those voicing support for the speaker. He said that Mr. McCarthy’s leadership has been “steady and principled.”

“Don’t count Speaker Kevin McCarthy out,” House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) said on CNBC. “People thought he would never become speaker. He went through 15 rounds to become speaker.”

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) attends a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies and Innovation hearing about artificial intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 18, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Vote in Afternoon

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced the motion to vacate on Monday.

Such a motion can be brought by a single member under a deal Mr. McCarthy made to gain the speaker’s post.

Motions to vacate are rare. Even when they’re brought, none have been successful.

The motion requires a majority to remove Mr. McCarthy as speaker.

Republicans currently hold 221 seats. Democrats hold 212 seats. Two seats are vacant.

Mr. Gaetz said the motivation behind acting to remove Mr. McCarthy was the bill that averted a shutdown.

“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 said over the weekend.

“If the Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy, they can have him,” Mr. Gaetz told reporters. “Because 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. So if the Democrats want to adopt him, they can adopt him.”

Mr. Gaetz also asserted that Mr. McCarthy had made a secret deal with Democrats over funding for Ukraine, which Mr. McCarthy has denied.

The motion is slated to be brought to a vote shortly after the House convenes at noon.

Some other members described the motion as a distraction. “This motion to vacate is a selfish waste of time motivated out of the personal spite of a select few towards McCarthy,” Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) said.

At a separate briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the motion to vacate “has nothing to do with us.”

“That is something for House Republicans to figure out,” she said. “And we’re going to let the leadership figure that piece out.”

From The Epoch Times

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