Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said on Tuesday that passing a debt deal without a Republican majority in the House would trigger an “immediate” motion to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
“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 to allow his ascent to the Speakership, and it would likely trigger an immediate motion to vacate,” Gaetz told Newsmax.
“I think Speaker McCarthy knows that,” he added. “That’s why he’s working hard to make sure that he gets, you know, 120, 150, 160 votes. And that’s why those of us who are not supportive of the bill are trying to point out that many of the changes are cosmetic in nature.”
Gaetz is one of at least 25 House Republicans — out of 222 members of the Republican conference — who have said they will not vote for the deal struck by McCarthy and President Biden to raise the debt ceiling.
However, the Florida Republican said Friday, before an agreement had been reached, that he saw “no serious threat” to McCarthy’s Speakership and predicted the deal would pass with “about 80-100 Democrat votes and between 140-160 Republican votes.”
“Literally nobody except the press is talking about removing McCarthy right now,” Gaetz said on Twitter last week.
Gaetz was among a group of 20 hard-line conservatives who held up McCarthy’s Speakership election in January, ultimately securing an agreement to lower the threshold to force a vote on ousting the Speaker to just one member.
However, even amid some conservative backlash to his deal with Biden, McCarthy said Sunday that he was “not at all” concerned about losing his leadership position.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) became the first Republican to publicly support ousting the Speaker over the debt ceiling deal Tuesday, but he did not commit to filing a motion to vacate, saying he would “decide that in conjunction with others.”