One of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) top Republican allies stunningly revealed he’s drafted a motion to oust the House leader.
Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), who helped negotiate a debt ceiling deal in May, suggested bringing the measure forward could mollify McCarthy’s critics.
“I drafted a motion to vacate for the speaker as well. I’ve got it sitting on my desk right now,” Graves told CNN on Saturday.
“I said if you’re going to keep hanging this over [his] head and playing these games, let’s do it now and get this over with.”
Graves’ remarks are the latest of the red-hot tensions among House Republicans over a spending bills melee boiling over into the public domain.
A motion to vacate the chair allows rank-and-fill members to try to remove the speaker.
During his marathon 15-vote grovel for the gavel in January, McCarthy agreed to lower the threshold for a motion-to-vacate down to one vote.
Given Republicans’ threadbare four-seat majority in the lower chamber, such a motion could spell doom for McCarthy, who barely clinched the gavel when the GOP had a five-seat majority earlier this yearin the year.
As a result, McCarthy’s chief agitator, firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), has openly dangled an ouster — threatening to put forward a motion to vacate earlier this month, when the House reconvened from its six-week recess.
So far, few of the nearly dozen Republican holdouts on a bill to avert an Oct. 1 government shutdown have gone that far publicly.
But Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) on Sunday threatened to back the efforts if McCarthy cuts a deal with the Democrats to bypass the GOP renegades.
“That would be something I would look strongly at ma’am,” Burchett replied when asked by CNN’s “State of the Union” host Dana Bash. “Our financial ship is sinking.”
Burchett had almost consistently backed McCarthy for speaker when the contentious voting began.
Meanwhile. McCarthy has publicly and privately downplayed the threat against his speakership.
“You guys think I’m scared of a motion to vacate. Go f—ing ahead and do it. I’m not scared,” McCarthy reportedly told Republicans at a closed-door meeting.
Alongside Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Graves helped cut the bipartisan deal to suspend the debt ceiling until January 2025 in exchange for capping discretionary spending to $1.59 trillion — a move that infuriated hardliners.
GOP rebels want something much closer to the fiscal year 2022 baseline discretionary spending level of $1.471 trillion that was Republicans’ initial offering in the debt limit negotiations.
“The arsonist that lit their house on fire, they’re whining about their house burning, they’re gonna want credit for putting the fire out, and then they’re gonna set up a GoFundMe to get paid for what happened,” Graves bemoaned to reporters.
“@RepGarretGraves, while embracing the new @johnFetterman dress code, called House Conservatives demanding individual appropriations bills (as opposed to a CR) ARSONISTS!!!” Gaetz shot back on X, formerly Twitter.
Graves, who represents Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, could be in danger of losing his seat in the 2024 cycle depending on how the state redraws its districts.
Although the nation’s borrowing authority has effectively been lifted, the government has not been funded for the next fiscal year, which starts in October.
Should Congress fail to fund the government in some fashion, there will be a shutdown.
McCarthy has sought a temporary stopgap continuing resolution to buy time for Congress to hash out spending.
But so far, the House has only managed to pass one of the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government — and is at odds with the Senate and White House over top-line figures.