Gaetz: ‘Only the press’ is talking about removing McCarthy

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is batting down suggestions that Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) efforts to find a compromise debt limit deal with President Biden could endanger his speakership due to conservative frustration.

“Literally nobody except the press is talking about removing McCarthy right now,” Gaetz wrote on Twitter.

In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Gaetz said he has “no plans” to try and remove McCarthy “barring some dramatic, unexpected turn of events.”

“You don’t remove someone simply because you disagree with them. By that standard, no speaker would last a single day. Speaker McCarthy simply must deliver on the promises he made in January. So far, his record doing so is admirable. So far,” he added.

During the days-long speaker election in January, McCarthy agreed to lower the threshold for forcing a vote on ousting the speaker — known as the motion to vacate — down from five members to one.

Conservatives who advocated for the change pitched it as a way of empowering individual lawmakers.

Gaetz was one of the 20 hardline conservatives who withheld support from McCarthy throughout the speaker election.

The possibility of a vote on the fate of McCarthy’s speakership has been hanging over the GOP leader’s head this Congress, especially as he works to manage his ideologically diverse conference.

That balancing act has come into sharp focus during negotiations with the White House over raising the debt ceiling.

McCarthy has pushed for spending cuts to be included with any increase in the borrowing limit.

He satisfied most of his right flank with a bill that would raise the debt ceiling into next year and implement $4.8 trillion in spending cuts.

After that legislation passed in the House, some conservatives said they would not vote for anything less aggressive than the debt limit bill. The conservative House Freedom Caucus went a step further last week when they adopted an official position that said leaders should “use every leverage and tool at their disposal” to get the House GOP bill signed into law.

While McCarthy is still engaging in negotiations, it is unlikely that any bipartisan agreement will include all provisions from the House GOP bill. But Gaetz and one other McCarthy holdout do not seem concerned with the speaker’s leadership.

“I haven’t heard anybody talking about motion to vacate except for reporters who asked me about that,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said last week.

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