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 June 1, 2023

McCarthy on possibility of being ousted as speaker after debt ceiling deal: 'doesn't bother me'

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says that he is not "worried" about the possibility of being removed from the speakership position as a result of the debt ceiling deal that he reached with President Joe Biden. 

McCarthy, according to CBS News, said as much on Wednesday, May 31.

"Look, everybody has the ability to do what they want," McCarthy said. But, if you think I'm going to wake up in the morning and be ever worried about that, no. Doesn't bother me."

"If someone thinks they have the right to do it. Call the motion," McCarthy added.

After the Republicans won back the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, McCarthy, the reader may remember, did not have an easy path to the speakership position. In fact, a contingent of House Republicans blocked McCarthy from becoming speaker until he made several concessions.

One of the most important of these concessions regards the process for removing the speaker. McCarthy and the Republicans agreed to a House rule that allows a single member of the House to call for a "motion to vacate." This would force a vote on whether or not to remove McCarthy from the speakership position.

So, McCarthy is always going to have this threat looming over him. But, if what he says is true, then he is not letting it bother him.

There are numerous House Republicans and House Democrats who are not satisfied with the agreement that McCarthy and Biden reached regarding the debt ceiling. On the Republican side, this includes members of the House Freedom Caucus, the same group that initially blocked McCarthy's speakership.

Accordingly, it would appear that McCarthy could be in danger of facing a motion to vacate.

Here is what U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said on Tuesday:

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.

Gaetz said this before the House voted on whether or not to pass the "Fiscal Responsibility Act," that is, the Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling deal.

The final vote on the bill was 314 to 117. Majorities from both parties voted in favor of the bill: Republicans voted in favor of the bill by a margin of 149 to 71 and Democrats voted in favor, 165 to 46.

This means that Gaetz's condition - "If a majority of Republicans are against a piece of legislation and you use Democrats to pass it" - was not met.

Whether this means that McCarthy is in the clear remains to be seen. Gaetz only stated one condition that could lead to a removal vote. This does not mean that there are no other conditions that could do so.

Written By:
Oliver Winters

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