HomeAmericasKevin McCarthy challenges far-right Republicans to remove him as president

Kevin McCarthy challenges far-right Republicans to remove him as president

Combative House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday defied far-right members of his Republican conference to try to oust him amid mounting frustration and anger as the California Republican tries to appease their demands to avoid a shutdown of the government.

“You think I’m afraid of a motion to quash. Go ahead and do it. “I’m not afraid,” McCarthy told the House GOP conference in a closed-door meeting Thursday morning, according to a lawmaker present who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private comments. Several lawmakers and aides recalled that McCarthy told lawmakers to introduce a “bullshit motion” to impeach him.

An override motion would begin the process that could remove McCarthy from the presidency.

Lawmakers reacted enthusiastically to McCarthy’s challenge, because the majority of the conference continues to support him as president. But with Republicans holding a very narrow majority in the House, even a small group of far-right antagonists could succeed in removing McCarthy from the presidency if all Democrats voted to remove him, although there is no indication that Democrats are considering That idea. .

McCarthy’s comments underscore the tensions within the Republican conference that have plunged the House into chaos this week.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced on September 12 that House Republicans are opening a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Facing a Sept. 30 deadline, lawmakers appear to be in worse shape than three days ago to avoid a shutdown. On Tuesday, amid negotiations over a government funding bill, McCarthy unilaterally ordered House committees to open a impeachment inquiry in president biden – after promising an investigation would be launched only with a full House vote – in an apparent attempt to satisfy far-right lawmakers.

House attacks Pentagon bill, ominous sign as shutdown looms

That move did not appear to be enough, however, as members of the House Freedom Caucus and other far-right lawmakers spent Tuesday publicly reiterating that they view McCarthy’s decision to launch an impeachment inquiry as a separate matter from winning their support for fund the government and avoid a shutdown. Few seemed moved by McCarthy’s tactic, further angering some members of the far right.

On Wednesday, House Republicans failed to move forward with a procedural vote on a typically uncontroversial bill to fund the Defense Department after it became clear they didn’t have enough votes.

After Thursday morning’s meeting of the Republican conference, McCarthy seemed upbeat but declined to describe the language he had used or answer whether he thought he had the votes to avoid a motion to quash.

“At the end of the day, I think the best thing that can happen here is that we’re able to do our job and stay out of that mess,” McCarthy told reporters.

Several Republican lawmakers walked out of the meeting expressing their support for McCarthy, who endured 15 rounds of voting to win the president’s gavel in January.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), one of McCarthy’s staunchest allies on the far-right wing of the conference, told reporters she was no longer a member of the “burning-all caucus,” referring to the House Freedom Caucus and saw no reason to unseat McCarthy.

“Kevin McCarthy doesn’t let these little things get under his skin. Nothing has been easy for this guy in the last nine months,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R.S.D.). “Like all of us, he sometimes gets frustrated by how many members, including me, can be stupid on any given day. But listen, I mean, he understands that he’s the right person right now. And he will not be deterred by the fact that the work is hard.”

Kevin McCarthy orders House committees to open impeachment inquiry into Biden

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (RN.D.) likened the Republican conference meeting to “a messy Thanksgiving dinner.”

“It’s like when your cousin shows up and someone has too many glasses of wine,” he said. “And we all fight, but we are all family and we will do everything we can to resolve this.”

House Republicans returned from a hiatus this week hoping to advance a tranche of funding bills they believe will give McCarthy a stronger footing in negotiations with the Senate as Congress seeks to avoid a shutdown. of the government.

But his failure Wednesday to move forward on a basic step to fund the government – the House’s primary responsibility enshrined in the Constitution – offered an example of how difficult it will be for McCarthy and the ideologically fractured Republican majority to find consensus, keep the government open and avoid blame if a shutdown is triggered. The House has less than a dozen days in session before the Sept. 30 deadline.

A handful of staunchly conservative lawmakers announced Wednesday that they would not vote to advance the defense funding bill because of an unmet demand they made to leaders months ago. Several members of the far-right Freedom Caucus said they have not yet received a figure for how much the 12 appropriations bills would cost once passed, and where offsets would be located to reduce spending. formulated in the 11 proposals that the House has yet to consider in plenary.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of the holdouts, has said that if McCarthy cobbled together a short-term extension that didn’t include a series of conservative demands, he would seek to remove him. On Tuesday, Gaetz also dismissed McCarthy’s announcement of the impeachment inquiry as a “small step” that was not genuine, and accused the GOP leader of serving as a “valet” for Biden’s spending agenda.

“The way forward for the House of Representatives is to present him for immediate and full compliance or impeach him,” Gaetz said then, speaking of McCarthy. “If we have to start the day with prayer, commitment and motion to vacate, so be it.”

Frustrations are peaking within the conference.

McCarthy “has done everything any speaker would be expected to do,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Thursday. “He has made sure that order and all his promises are fulfilled. So I think the speaker’s frustration is unique because he has done everything they asked of him and he made all the commitments.”

Democrats, who criticized the impeachment inquiry as a political stunt, described the Republican conference as a three-ring circus.

“Ring 1: Shut down the government. Ring 2: Impeach President Biden. Ring 3: Shoving their far-right ideology down the throats of the American people,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Thursday. “House Republicans are fighting among themselves, and you know what that means for everyday Americans: more chaos, more dysfunction, and more extremism. It’s sad. It is dangerous. And it’s pathetic.”

Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report.

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