Are House Conservatives Trying To Force McCarthy Out Via Shutdown?

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2023 - 03:45 PM

A new theory has emerged on the hill... that conservative hardliners in the House are looking to provoke a government shutdown on Oct. 1 in order to force Kevin McCarthy out of the speakership.

Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

As a quick refresher, McCarthy is now pushing for a 30-day Continuing Resolution (band-aid), which more than a dozen conservatives have argued against on the grounds that it continues to fund the Ukraine war and "woke" policies by the Biden administration. McCarthy appears to have just a four-vote margin in the House, with 'some Republicans likely to miss votes due to health issues.'

Punchbowl News lays out the argument for the 'oust McCarthy' strategy.

Let’s review the evidence.

Conservative hardliners, of course, dragged out McCarthy’s election as speaker for 15 rounds back in January, only relenting after he made a number of serious concessions.

McCarthy then cut a deal on a topline FY2024 spending number with President Joe Biden back in May, which angered his detractors in the Republican Conference.

The speaker later abandoned that agreement in the face of a conservative floor blockade, caving to the right and cutting $100 billion-plus from the annual spending bills as they demanded. Yet House Republican leaders have still been unable to pass next year’s appropriations bills on the floor due to continuing GOP infighting.

Now his Republican critics are hammering McCarthy for not moving those same bills. The hardliners — and there’s a big split among conservatives here — refuse to allow House GOP leaders to pass a stopgap funding package to avoid shutdown. They argue that to do so would continue current Biden administration policy — even if for a month. This includes a continuing resolution negotiated by House Freedom Caucus members.

So it’s a Republican vs. Republican stalemate with McCarthy’s future on the line.

The House Freedom Caucus, meanwhile, is just fine playing chicken. On Sunday, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) said on local television that after a 90 minute call with the Caucus, the group thinks DC is headed for "at least" a "10-day government shutdown."

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz has threatened to introduce a "motion to vacate" McCarthy if the speaker pushes a continuing resolution.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who also opposes the Continuing Resolution, said on Monday "It is a shame that our weak Speaker cannot even commit to having a commission to discuss our looming fiscal catastrophe."

McCarthy lashed out at Spartz in 'very personal terms' to CNN's Manu Raju, drawing harsh rebuke from Gaetz for "disgraceful" comments about her retirement at the end of this term.

"Anybody who criticize you has never worked harder than you. And I mean, if Victoria is concerned about fighting stronger, I wish she would’ve run again and not quit," said McCarthy, adding "I mean, I’m not quitting, I’m gonna continue to work for the American public."

On Monday, Gaetz knocked the stopgap measure - dubbing it "the Donalds CR" after Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) thought it would be a good idea to argue that it will continue funding the office of Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.

And if McCarthy 'turns to Democrats' for help in passing the CR, Punchbowl suggests that his GOP opponents inside hte house could move against him.

"The thing that would force the motion to vacate is if Kevin has to rely on Democrat votes to pass a CR," said Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), adding "I don’t think it has legs until Kevin relies on Democrats."

That said, Buck admitted: "I don’t see how we can pass the bill [a CR] without Democrat votes."

According to McCarthy ally Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), "It was always going to be a huge challenge in a narrowly divided government for us to fund the government and have some compromise. This was always going to be a fight," adding "So far, the speaker has played every single situation exceedingly well, and the base is exceedingly happy with him."

Around and around we go...