The announcement by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz that he will present a motion to vacate against Speaker Kevin McCarthy has unleashed an earthquake on Capitol Hill. With the GOP divided after the approval of a measure to avoid the shutdown (90 GOP representatives voted against), Democrats will hold the key to McCarthy's future. Gaetz may end up expelled following in investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Those loyal to the speaker are negotiating with the Democrats to change certain House rules, among them would be the rule that allows a single representative to present a motion to vacate the speaker.
Let’s roll! https://t.co/WGrvA9REPE
— Rep. Eli Crane (@RepEliCrane) October 1, 2023
Democrats waiting patiently, although radicals want to overthrow McCarthy
After the announcement by the Florida representative on Sunday morning, the reactions in both parties have not ceased. In the GOP, representatives are divided. There are critics of McCarthy who do not want to give ammunition to Democrats, such as Byron Donalds, and those who feel betrayed by the speaker and are looking for someone to fill the position who has wider support. Additionally, several representatives have threatened to vote to expel Gaetz, who is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee.
Things are not clear for the Democrats either. McCarthy has been able to make traction with them in negotiations on debt ceiling and to avoid the shutdown. The election of a new speaker of the House more inclined to the more right-wing conservatives would surely backfire for the Democrats and would make the House ungovernable, especially in initiatives that needed bipartisan support. The most progressive wing, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has already announced that they would support Gaetz's initiative without hesitation. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has yet to make his opinion known, saying only that Republicans must resolve their civil war on their own.
McCarthy loyalists open a third way: change the House rules
A third option has emerged that raised the ire of many Republican representatives: a pact between McCarthy and the Democrats to change the rules of the House of Representatives, including those that allow a single representative to present a motion to vacate the speaker. McCarthy himself opened the door to this possibility in an interview with Fox, and Fox's White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich confirmed that several Republican representatives are evaluating this route. The reason, per one Republican, would be to "marginalize the crazy half dozen, minimize the chaos and govern better." Anna Paulina Luna quickly responded, calling the act a "slap in the face" to GOP members and voters.
Right now there is a push among some R’s to bring Dems to the table to make agreement to change rules package - determine what they want for that - to “marginalize the crazy half dozen, minimize the chaos and govern better”, one GOP member tells me https://t.co/IUtrLE7z3x
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) October 1, 2023
What Republicans are looking to change the house rules? This rules package empowers us ALL to legislate. It does not consulate power in a speaker. How Pelosi ran Congress was WRONG. To change the rules package is a slap in the face to all of us & our constituents. https://t.co/vB03218GEg
— Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (@RepLuna) October 2, 2023
Several Republicans want to expel Gaetz
In addition, several representatives have indicated to Fox News their intention to expel Gaetz if the investigation being carried out by the House Ethics Committee finds that he committed any illegal activity. Several representatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that the situation has become unsustainable among the conservative ranks because of Gaetz: "No one can stand him at this point. A smart guy with no morals," said one of them. Those who are close to Gaetz believe that the investigation is an attempt to unjustly oust a combative representative.
TO be clear: It is UNETHICAL to threaten to expel a member for following and using house rules that the ENTIRE conference agreed too. This game works both ways just FYI to any MEMBER who thinks they can blackmail a legislator into not legislating. https://t.co/VKraSB4xnW
— Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (@RepLuna) October 1, 2023