Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Monday filed a long-awaited override motion against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which, if successful, will strip the California Republican of his post as speaker.
“Pursuant to Clause Two A1 of Rule Nine, I rise to give notice of my intention to raise a question of House privileges,” Gaetz said on the House floor.
When asked to indicate the form of his resolution, Gaetz responded: “Upon declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives vacant, it is resolved that the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared vacant.”
“Go ahead,” McCarthy tweeted, shortly after Gaetz made his motion, echoing language he used over the weekend when asked about the possibility of having the gavel taken away.
House leadership has two days to bring Gaetz’s motion to a vote, which will require a simple majority to pass.
Gaetz’s motion will likely be voted on by the full House within two days.REUTERS
Gaetz introduced the motion just after the final vote of the day in the House, and Democratic lawmakers “burst into laughter when Gaetz left the room,” according to Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News.
Gaetz has mocked McCarthy by filing an override motion, which only requires one vote to initiate.
McCarthy agreed to lower the threshold of members needed to table the motion in January, as a concession to conservatives who oppose his presidency.
The Florida Republican maintains that McCarthy has not been serious about supporting spending cuts, and claims that the president has been negotiating a secret deal with President Biden on aid to Ukraine, while supporting a stopgap measure to finance the government which does not include aid to the war-torn country.
McCarthy has accused Gaetz of harboring personal animosity toward him over his refusal to intervene in a House Ethics Committee investigation into the Sunshine State lawmaker, a claim Gaetz denies.
“For some people, political failures are seen as personal because they find their own failures personally embarrassing,” Gaetz told reporters on Monday. “This is not personal, I can cite the specific elements of the House Rules that have been violated.
“Kevin McCarthy accepted the rule that we would have 72 hours to read the legislation. He got over that. Kevin McCarthy accepted the rule that we would not include anything over $100 million in the suspension agenda so that it could not be changed. He got over that. Kevin McCarthy agreed with the Hastert Rule, which is that Democrats would never be used to gain a majority of the majority, in the latest Ukraine supplement, 101 Republicans voted in favor. 117 Republicans voted against. So does this seem personal to you? he continued.
“He’s simply trying to subjugate his real and significant violations of our agreement as some kind of personal dispute, but that says more about him than it does about what we’re trying to do,” he added.
The last time the House voted on a motion to impeach a president was in 1910, when an attempt was made to overthrow former President Joe Cannon (R-Ill.).
“So be it. Let’s get this over with and start governing,” McCarthy told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“I will survive,” he added. “You know this is personal with Matt. Matt voted against the more conservative ability to secure our border. He is more interested in getting television interviews than doing anything.”
Gaetz acknowledged Monday that his motion is “likely” to fail and said he will be “at peace” with any outcome, which he sees as one of two possibilities.
“Well, I have enough Republicans where, this time next week, one of two things will happen. Kevin McCarthy will not be the speaker of the House or he will be the speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats. And I am at peace with either outcome because the American people deserve to know who governs them,” he told reporters.
McCarthy accused Gaetz of having a personal vendetta against him. AFP via Getty Images
However, Gaetz promised to resubmit his motion if it fails.
“Well, I’m not so pessimistic as to immediately accept that it will fail. I think that’s the likely outcome. But you know, this won’t be the only time. That’s probably all I’ll say about it,” she said.
Most Republican lawmakers disagree with Gaetz’s effort to unseat McCarthy.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) called the effort “premature” and a “really bad idea” on Monday.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) also indicated she would not support expulsion of the House speaker.
“I do not support a motion to annul. We have less than 45 days to finish our assignments. We have eight more bills to pass,” he told reporters.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said some Democrats have privately told him they will vote to keep McCarthy in power.
“I’m sure Mr. Gaetz will have some allies who will stand with him. But I don’t see enough,” McCaul said.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said Monday that he is “favorably inclined” to oust McCarthy.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) indicated that his “conscience tells me to expel him.”
“We have $33 trillion in debt. We are not addressing it. We didn’t do it,” he added, placing the blame on the Speaker of the House.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) called the status quo “unacceptable” and argued that “things must change.”
“We got nothing,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said of the House continuing resolution passed over the weekend, indicating it is one of the reasons he will vote to impeach McCarthy.
Gaetz said he would have “no malice toward any Republican who does not support the override motion,” adding that “perhaps the last straw for me was learning that Kevin McCarthy had created a secret side deal with President Biden on Ukraine while we were in the middle of this battle over government funding.”
“A secret side deal on Ukraine is not what the American people want to see from Republicans,” he added.
McCarthy has denied making side deals with Democrats over their support for the Czech Republic.