FLASH: After Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Monday filed a long-expected motion to "vacate the chair" against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the House voted to vacate the chair and oust Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Eight Republicans voted with every present Democrat to vacate the speaker's chair. The final vote was 216 to 210 in favor of McCarthy's ouster.
Gaetz began the drama by invoking what was, until recently, an obscure House Rule: “Pursuant to clause two A1 of Rule nine, I rise to give notice of my intent to raise a question of the privileges of the House,” Gaetz said on the House floor.
When asked to state the form of his resolution, Gaetz responded, “Declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant, resolved that the Office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant,” reported the New York Post.
The battle between Republican Representative Matt Gaetz and Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is all about one word: trust.
As our friend Frank Gaffney explained in a recent “Secure Freedom Minute” broadcast:
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is commendably trying to hold a rogue House Speaker accountable. So, the House of Representatives will soon vote on a motion to fire Kevin McCarthy for successive betrayals of the formal commitments that made him, after fifteen different votes in January, the chamber’s leader, third in line to the presidency.
It comes down to a matter of trust. Will Republicans trust a man who has made deals with the Biden administration and congressional Democrats that have effectively neutered GOP control of the House? While many Republican members likely will, probably not enough of them to save McCarthy’s speakership – unless Democrats bail him out.
House Democrats may do so, provided he promises further concessions going forward. But would you rely on a man who needs your support precisely because he cannot be trusted to keep his word?
McCarthy has accused Gaetz of being a publicity hound and harboring personal animosity toward him because of his refusal to intervene in a House Ethics Committee investigation of Gaetz.
However, Rep. Gaetz strongly refuted that claim.
“For some people, policy failures are recast as personal because their own failures are personally embarrassing to them,” Gaetz told reporters on Monday. “This isn’t personal, I can cite to the specific elements of House Rules that have been violated.
“Kevin McCarthy agreed to a rule that we would have 72 hours to read legislation. He blew past that. Kevin McCarthy agreed to a rule that we would not put anything over $100 million on the suspension agenda so that it couldn’t be amended. He blew past that. Kevin McCarthy agreed to the Hastert Rule, which is that you would never use the Democrats to roll a majority of the majority, on the last Ukraine supplemental 101 Republicans voted for it. 117 Republicans voted against it. So, does this sound personal to you?” he continued.
“He’s just trying to subjugate his real and significant breaches of our agreement as some sort of personal dispute but that says more about him than it says about what we’re trying to do,” Rep. Gaetz added according to reporting by Victor Nava.
While establishment Republicans and their allies in the Democrat-controlled media have labeled Rep. Gaetz’s effort quixotic – or worse – conservatives are more favorably disposed toward holding McCarthy accountable for his breaches of the agreements that brought him the Speaker’s gavel.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said Monday that he is “favorably disposed” to voting out McCarthy.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) indicated that his “conscience is telling me to vote him out.”
“We’ve got $33 trillion in debt. We’re not addressing it. We didn’t,” he added, laying blame on the House speaker.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) called the status quo “unacceptable,” arguing that “things need to change.”
“We got nothing,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said of the House’s continuing resolution passed over the weekend, indicating that it is one of the reasons that he’ll be voting to remove McCarthy.
However, Gaetz’s move was not universally welcomed by House Republicans.
New York Rep. Mike Lawler (R) spoke to reporters outside of the Capitol, and he issued scathing remarks against the Florida Republican.
“There’s only one person to blame for any potential government shutdown,” Lawler said, adding that Gaetz is “not a conservative Republican, he’s a charlatan.”
“As far as I’m concerned, when you’re working with Democrats to try to vacate the speaker, you’re a joke,” Lawler added according to reporting by Daniel Molina of FloridianPress.com.
And Speaker McCarthy’s allies are playing for keeps, including reviving a dormant ethics investigation into Gaetz.
CNN reported that one Republican lawmaker said that Gaetz could be expelled depending on the Ethics Committee findings, telling the outlet that “We want him out.”
Fox News reported that some of Speaker McCarthy’s allies will seek to expel Gaetz if the Ethics Committee reports wrongdoing by Gaetz. It would take a two-thirds majority to expel a member from the House. Even though the Republicans hold only a slim majority in the House they might use the same Liberal Republican + Democrat coalition that passed the Continuing Resolution to expel Gaetz.
We will readily stipulate that Matt Gaetz can be an acquired taste, especially for “nice guy” type Republicans who may deplore his constant “in your face” brand of politics, but he’s not wrong about McCarthy breaking his word and betraying the conservatives who brought him to power.
Why should conservatives trust a man – Speaker McCarthy – who has made deals with the Biden administration and congressional Democrats that have effectively neutered GOP control of the House? The answer is they shouldn’t, and they can’t, which is why we back Matt Gaetz on this one.
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