A top Democrat in the House has detailed how her caucus is prepared to help Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy keep his job in exchange for ending the impeachment inquiry he launched into President Joe Biden’s actions just weeks ago.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), the minority whip, promised she could marshal the votes to help McCarthy avoid an attempt by conservative Republicans to vacate the speaker’s chair which would require near-unanimous support from Democrats as well. Rep. Clark told POLITICO that she also intends to force McCarthy into a corner on aid to Ukraine and his ongoing negotiations with the White House to avoid a government shutdown.
“We want him to live up to the agreement [on toppling spending] that he made [with President Biden]. We want to get disaster aid out. We want to continue our support for Ukraine. And we want them to end this sham of an impeachment inquiry,” said Clark.
The charge to boot McCarthy has generally been led by Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who has accused the Speaker of inadequately negotiating during debt ceiling talks and conceding too much ground to Democrats. The small group of hardline conservatives need just five votes to prevent a deal between McCarthy and President Biden from passing the House.
Last week McCarthy essentially dared Gaetz and his cohort of rabble-rousers to try and remove him, declaring his support within the Republican caucus remains strong. However, cutting a deal with House Democrats to keep his speakership at the expense of budget cuts may be seen as a bridge too far, further eroding the California Republican’s ability to whip votes in the future.
When Republicans took control of Congress in January, McCarthy famously endured 15 rounds of voting before he was elected Speaker, one of the most divisive selections in American history. He is described by allies as a fighter who believes he can prevail over conservatives who he generally loathes as unpatriotic and unserious about reaching consensus.
To keep his job, Speaker McCarthy is relying on support from conservative lawmakers like Rep. James Comer (R-KY) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) who are leading the investigation into President Biden’s alleged participation in his son’s business affairs. The Republican leader has also benefited from tenuous support by former President Donald Trump, who although at times has questioned McCarthy’s sincerity in defending him during a busy primary election.