According to a report from Politico on Friday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has offered Democrats subpoena power in exchange for their assistance in removing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
“He’s been talking to everybody about [ousting McCarthy],” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Politico. “I told him in our caucus, in the Progressive Caucus, we’re not planning to save McCarthy — for a whole host of reasons.”
Gaetz denied speaking with Democrats about such an effort, insisting that he was working to kill the short-term spending measure that McCarthy successfully shepherded through the House on Saturday.
The New York Post reported that Gaetz has gone even further, promising Democrats subpoena power on the House Oversight Committee during the impeachment investigation of President Joe Biden in exchange for working with him to oust McCarthy.
According to the Post, Gaetz’s “backroom proposal would potentially allow Democrats on the GOP-led panel to select which witnesses receive subpoenas in the investigation into the 80-year-old president’s involvement in his family’s overseas business dealings, and allow them to nix the subpoenas from Republican members — which could derail the probe.”
It is unclear what authority Gaetz has to propose such concessions to the Democrats, and a spokesperson for Gaetz denied the allegations. McCarthy has been at odds with Gaetz for a long time.
In the January speaker's election, Gaetz refused to support McCarthy on the fourteenth ballot, voting "present" to deny McCarthy when he and his allies believed McCarthy had enough votes to win the position.
McCarthy was elected speaker on the fifteenth ballot, after Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) appeared to lunge at Rep. Matt Gaetz before being restrained by a colleague.
Gaetz has long threatened McCarthy's ouster if he collaborates with Democrats to approve a spending bill that extends current levels without spending cuts or other conservative priorities. Sunday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper, host of State of the Union, that he would introduce a motion to vacate the chair "this week."
Tapper informed Gaetz that he had viewed private messages in which Gaetz blamed McCarty for his ethics investigation.
Tapper said, “There are a lot of House Republicans that think that there is this personal animus between you and Speaker McCarthy. I have to ask you, how much do you blame Speaker McCarthy for the fact that you are under investigation by the House Ethics Committee? How much is that part of what’s going on here?”
Gaetz refuted that his motivations were personal before attacking McCarthy for "gaslighting the Ethics Committee."
Clearly, Gaetz would require substantial support from Democrats for his motion to vacate the chair to succeed. Few Republicans have publicly suggested they might support Gaetz, whose motion requires 218 votes.
When asked how many Republicans would join him, Gaetz replied, “Enough so that when you host this show next week, if Kevin McCarthy is still speaker of the house, he will be serving at the pleasure of the Democrats… The only way Kevin McCarthy is speaker at the end of this coming week is if Democrats bail him out.”