Conservative Concerns Over Debt Deal Threaten McCarthy’s Speakership

Conservative representatives are expressing their dissatisfaction with the recent debt deal, and it could lead to a push to remove Kevin McCarthy from the position of House Speaker.

Rep. Dan Bishop from North Carolina is considering a move to strip McCarthy of his role as House Speaker. This would involve initiating a vote of no confidence against McCarthy, a tactic previously used by conservative House Freedom Caucus members to prevent party leaders from leaning towards the center. To oust the speaker, a simple majority is required, and it only takes one member to trigger the vote.

“Absolutely,” Bishop told POLITICO in an interview, when asked about using the tool to force out a sitting speaker. “It is inescapable to me. It has to be done.”

Bishop wants support from his colleagues before proceeding with his threat. He stated that he doesn’t make decisions alone and that it depends on the actions of other members who have the courage to act.

Other conservatives, including Rep. Ken Buck, are also considering drastic measures due to their disapproval of the debt and budget deal.

During a private call with House Freedom Caucus members, Buck raised the issue and asked if any of his fellow members were planning to trigger a motion to vacate, which is a way to challenge the speaker. Buck claimed that McCarthy’s deal violated his promise to conservatives regarding pre-pandemic spending levels. Rep. Scott Perry, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, responded that it was premature to discuss the matter.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a long-time critic of McCarthy, suggested that a vote of no confidence could be triggered depending on the outcome of the upcoming vote.

“If a majority of Republicans are against a piece of legislation and you use Democrats to pass it, that would immediately be a black-letter violation of the deal we had with McCarthy” Gaetz told Newsmax on Tuesday. “And it would likely trigger an immediate motion to vacate.”

While some conservatives express their discontent with the McCarthy-Biden deal, publicly, few House Freedom Caucus members are willing to go as far as discussing McCarthy’s removal. During a press conference mainly attended by members of the House Freedom Caucus, only Bishop raised his hand when asked about ousting McCarthy.

McCarthy doesn’t seem concerned about the threat to his speakership and believes the deal has significant victories, including spending cuts and changes to work requirements. He considers it an easy vote for Republicans to support the deal.

Conservatives and McCarthy are meeting to address the blowback.

Until now, conservatives have supported McCarthy, explicitly stating that they do not intend to remove him from his position. However, concerns about a potential ousting have existed since January, as McCarthy agreed to rules that allow a single member to trigger a vote of no confidence.

McCarthy has strongly defended the agreement he reached with the White House, but conservative dissatisfaction has grown since the release of the debt deal.

Rep. Chip Roy from Texas called the deal a betrayal of the power-sharing arrangement within the House GOP. If he can’t prevent the package from advancing, he suggests reevaluating the leadership arrangement, implying a threat to the speaker.

Some Freedom Caucus members believe that removing McCarthy is not the solution, even if they dislike the bill. They believe they can make a more significant impact by focusing on the upcoming appropriations bill.

Despite their differences on ousting McCarthy, conservatives agree on one thing—they will fight against the debt bill. House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry didn’t confirm whether members would attempt to remove McCarthy but stated that those present at the press conference would do everything possible to stop the deal.

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