Some House Republicans threaten to oust Speaker McCarthy over debt limit deal with Biden White House

May 31, 2023
Ben Marquis

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reached an agreement with President Joe Biden's White House on Saturday on a tentative deal to suspend the nation's debt limit, but there are dozens of House Republicans who are quite displeased at the end results of the negotiations.

In fact, some House Republicans are now threatening to take steps to remove McCarthy from his powerful position, but the Speaker appears to have dismissed that threat as something that he isn't worried about, according to the Conservative Brief.

However, as a condition of McCarthy garnering enough support in January to become the House Speaker, he had agreed to lower the threshold to just one member for a so-called "motion to vacate the chair," in which a "no confidence" vote would be held on his leadership that could result in him being ousted.

McCarthy "Not at all worried" about threat to leadership

The Washington Examiner reported that following the announcement on Saturday night that an agreement had been reached, a number of conservative House Republicans were swift to express their opposition to the deal as, in their view, not enough gains were made for their side in exchange for the many concessions made to the Democratic side.

That also led to several members issuing a threat to call for a motion to vacate in the near future, which could result in Speaker McCarthy being forced to give up the gavel unless a simple majority of the House voted in favor of his continued leadership as Speaker.

When asked about the threat of a motion to vacate, however, the Examiner noted that McCarthy replied that he was "not at all worried" about being ousted over the debt limit deal.

House Freedom Caucus leading charge on possible motion to vacate

Axios reported on Tuesday that the threat against Speaker McCarthy of a motion to vacate the chair was being led by members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, who had demanded that any debt limit deal include significant spending cuts and other meaningful reforms.

Given that those demands did not materialize in the negotiated agreement, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said, "The Republican conference has been torn asunder," and called for a "reckoning" with regard to McCarthy's continued leadership.

Similarly, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said the proposed deal was "a career-defining vote for every Republican" as he also accused McCarthy of "forfeiting" the hard-won House GOP unity he had achieved during the negotiations in January for him to become the Speaker.

"It is clear that, as steward of Republican unity, Kevin has made an unrecoverable failure," Bishop, who was the first to openly suggest a possible motion to vacate, told Axios. As to when that might happen, he added that it would occur "at a time and circumstance of our choosing."

Also threatening such a motion was Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who told the outlet, "If a majority of Republicans are against a piece of legislation, and you use Democrats to pass it, that would immediately be a black-letter violation of the deal we had with McCarthy."

"And it would likely trigger an immediate motion to vacate," the Florida congressman added. "I think Speaker McCarthy knows that -- that's why he's working hard to make sure he gets 120, 150, 160 votes."

Dozens of House Republicans intend to vote "NO" on debt limit deal

Garnering such a number of House Republicans in support of the debt limit deal is certainly achievable, though it may prove difficult, as The Hill reported that, as of Tuesday, there were already at least 36 House Republicans, if not more by now, who had stated their intentions to vote "NO" on the agreement negotiated with President Biden's White House.

The outlet further noted that, with just 222 Republican members in the House, Speaker McCarthy would almost certainly have to garner the support of some House Democrats to pass the measure, but also concluded that "anything less than a majority" of the GOP caucus "voting for the bill would be politically devastating for GOP leadership."

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