The calls to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy continued to grow on Tuesday as the body’s leading Democrat called on his caucus to side with a sliver of conservative Republicans and vote to remove him from office.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) signaled his intention by calling for a vote against a procedural motion to delay a vote on vacating the speaker’s chair, a sign that the New York Democrat intends to move quickly in replacing McCarthy. Should he be able to successfully whip all 212 members of his caucus, Rep. Jeffries would need just five conservative Republicans to join in a majority vote to remove McCarthy.
Voting on McCarthy’s future gets underway at 2:00PM EST.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS — @RepJeffries "definitively" called for a vote against any procedural motion to delay the motion to vacate
AND he said Democrats should vote to oust McCarthy.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 3, 2023
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who has led the insurgent rebellion against McCarthy and filed the original motion to vacate, said Tuesday that either McCarthy or President Joe Biden is “lying” about a potential deal to deliver more financial aid to Ukraine, a key sticking point in funding the U.S. government. Speaker McCarthy ultimately relied on Democrats to fund a three-week extension but did not include an aid package which would have lost him scores of votes within his own caucus.
Speaking with reporters, Gaetz said, “We heard the president come out and say there was a deal with the Speaker on Ukraine and the Speaker just stood up in front of all of us and said that that there’s no deal on Ukraine. The House Democrats say there’s a deal on Ukraine, so we’re going to have to sort that out. We’re going to have to sort out who’s lying.”
If McCarthy indeed promised additional aid to Ukraine in exchange for a promise from Democrats to help him keep his speakership, the Republican leader would likely see his own standing within the GOP damaged beyond repair. Criticism of overly generous and never-ending aid packages to Ukraine during its war with Russia has become a rallying cry for conservatives who are intent on directing government funds back home to secure the nation’s own borders.
Earlier in the day, conservative lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) sided with McCarthy, writing on X that no one else in the caucus is willing to step up and fill the speakership should McCarthy be removed. That should give Republicans pause.
“If the Speaker is vacated, the House comes to a halt, no bills can be passed, nothing can be done until we elect another Speaker,” wrote Greene.