McCarthy's Fate Is Up to Democrats

Leader Hakeem Jeffries meets with his caucus Tuesday to decide whether to save the speaker
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 6:31 AM CDT
DC's Big Question: Will Democrats Save the Speaker?
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters at the Capitol on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Matt Gaetz has made good on his threat to try to oust fellow Republican Kevin McCarthy as House speaker. The Florida congressman invoked the rarely used "motion to vacate" procedural tool, meeting McCarthy's challenge to "bring it on," per the AP. "Just did," Gaetz wrote on social media in retort. So now what?

  • The vote: McCarthy must schedule a vote on his speakership within two days, though there's no word yet on the timing. The speaker also could use a parliamentary trick and call a recess within that time frame, notes the Washington Post. Otherwise, it happens Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • His fate: McCarthy and his closest allies are sounding a note of confidence, but "let's be abundantly clear where things are for McCarthy—he's in immediate danger of losing his speakership," per Punchbowl News. By the outlet's current count, he almost certainly will need Democratic votes to keep his post, and that is no sure thing for him.

  • Key player: McCarthy's fate may well come down to what Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the House minority leader, decides to do. As of Tuesday morning, he hasn't tipped his hand, per the New York Times. But McCarthy doesn't exactly have many friends on the other side of the aisle. "I am one Democrat not in much of a mood to help him out," said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland. "MAGA Republicans have to solve the problems that MAGA Republicans create."
  • Deal-making: If Democrats do bail out McCarthy, they would likely demand as-yet unspecified concessions in regard to how the House operates, notes Axios. "I'm not a cheap date," said House Rules Committee ranking member Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.
  • What to watch: Democrats and Republicans meet separately at 9am Tuesday behind closed doors. "McCarthy's and Jeffries' tone, tenor and message in these sessions will go a long way toward determining what happens next," per Punchbowl News.
(More Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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