Washington—— Rep. Matt Gaetz said Sunday he will try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, from his leadership position this week after McCarthy relied on Democratic support to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.
Gates, McCarthy’s longtime nemesis, said McCarthy had “blatantly and egregiously violated” an agreement he made with House Republicans when he ran for speaker in January. Therefore, Gates said he would make a “motion to vacate the chairmanship” as House rules allow.
No speaker has ever been removed from office for such a move. A procedural vote could be brought to stop the motion, which could also trigger a House vote on whether the speaker should remain in office.
“I think we need to rip the Band-Aid off,” Gaetz, a Florida Republican, told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think we need to move forward with new leadership that we can trust.”
McCarthy has the support of an overwhelming majority of House Republicans, but with such a slim Republican majority, he may need some Democratic votes to keep his job.
“The only way Kevin McCarthy will be Speaker of the House at the end of next week is if Democrats bail him out,” Gates said.
House rules allow any lawmaker — Democratic or Republican — to file a “motion to vacate the chair,” essentially trying to oust the speaker from the leadership position through a privileged resolution.
In January, McCarthy, hoping to appease some on the far right in his quest for speakership, agreed to give at least five Republican lawmakers the power to initiate a vote to oust him. But when that wasn’t good enough for his critics, he agreed to lower that threshold to one — a system that has historically been the norm.
Supporters of allowing a single member to introduce the motion alone say it promotes accountability and point to the motion’s long history in the House. The motion was last used in 2015 when then-Rep. North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, who later became President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, introduced a resolution declaring the speaker’s office vacant. Two months later, Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said he would resign.
Associated Press staff writer Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.