Matt Gaetz officially introduced the motion to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Florida congressman asked to speak in the House and ratified what he had been threatening for days: start the legislative process to separate the Californian from the gavel.
For Gaetz, McCarthy is not trustworthy and he proved it to him in the last round of negotiations with Democrats. Therefore, as he has been threatening in recent months, he will try to replace him and look for a speaker who, in his vision, is closer to the most conservative faction of the Republican Party.
In a new statement, this time from the House of Representatives, Gaetz accused his rival of pushing Joe Biden's agenda. "It is becoming increasingly clear who the speaker of the House already works for, and it’s not the Republican conference," he said, later adding that McCarthy allowed the president to take his "lunch money in every negotiation."
BREAKING: Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed a motion to vacate the chair against Speaker Kevin McCarthy pic.twitter.com/vkJcgjD6qA
— ALX 🎃 (@alx) October 2, 2023
In turn, he indicated that, during the negotiations to avoid the Government shutdown, McCarthy made a "secret deal" with the Democrats on the financing of Ukraine, one of the most discussed points by the conservatives in the House.
Finally, Gaetz told journalists that he will insist on the motion to vacate in case the first one is not successful, recalling the number of votes that were necessary to elect McCarthy at the beginning of the year. "It took Speaker McCarthy 15 votes to become the speaker. So until I guess the 14th or 15th, I don't think I'm being any more dilatory than he was," he concluded.
JUST IN: Representative Matt Gaetz speaks out after he files motion to vacate against Speaker Kevin McCarthy, says Democrats can adopt him if they want.
“If the Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy, they can have it.”
“Because one thing I'm at peace with is when we stand here a… pic.twitter.com/2B5q8PgXtO
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) October 3, 2023
How does the motion to vacate work?
When McCarthy was in the middle of the fight for the gavel, he granted the internal opposition, precisely led by Gaetz, to reduce the number of congressmen necessary to initiate a motion to remove the Speaker of the House.
The negotiation concluded that a single legislator would be necessary to do so, whether Republican, Democrat or independent. He must "offer a privileged resolution declaring the Office of the Speaker vacant," thus initiating the procedure.
To officially fire McCarthy, the Florida congressman must gather a simple majority (half plus one), in this case, 218 colleagues. Once it starts, procedural votes can stopped and annulled by a simple majority.
Therefore, if all or almost all Democrats join the conservatives in the House they could have the votes necessary to leave the Speaker of the House position vacant, although, at least from the beginning, this does not seem to be a likely scenario.
Although it does not exist in the text of the National Constitution, the vacate motion is based on "Jefferson's Manual", which the House adopted in 1837 as a guide to parliamentary procedure. According to the manual, "a speaker may be removed at the pleasure of the House."
In turn, it was Joseph Cannon, Speaker of the House in 1910, who launched the modern vacate motion.