Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will bring up Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) move to oust him Tuesday, moving quickly to consider the motion to vacate the chair.
McCarthy could have brought up Gaetz’s motion any time within two legislative days after Gaetz made the move Monday evening. But the Speaker told House Republicans in a conference meeting Tuesday morning he would bring it up later in the day, according to multiple GOP members leaving the meeting.
“He wants to get it out of the way; he doesn’t want to wait, and he’s gonna run on his record,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said.
McCarthy later confirmed he would bring up the vote during the first vote series of the day, which begins at 1:30 p.m.
Asked by reporters why he was bringing the vote up quickly, McCarthy on Tuesday responded, “Why not?”
“I’m confident I’ll hold on,” he said.
There would likely be a move to table the resolution to oust McCarthy or refer it to committee before any vote on the underlying resolution.
At least four Republicans have said they would back Gaetz’s motion. In the narrow GOP majority, just a handful of Republican opponents of McCarthy could put the fate of his Speakership in the hands of Democrats.
McCarthy on Tuesday ruled out an agreement with Democrats to keep his job.
House Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said he has not idea how the vote will go, since it depends largely on how many Republicans oppose him and what Democrats decide to do.
“I will tell you this: He will be stronger on this ballot than he was his first ballot for Speaker. And his support in the conference is up, not down. That’s the ironic thing,” Cole said.
Democrats, meanwhile are keeping mum about their plans.
Lawmakers leaving a caucus meeting Tuesday morning said the party was united, but woudn’t say how they plan to vote.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said he supports ousting McCarthy, but would wait for direction from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
“Kevin McCarthy is a MAGA extremist. And he has brought chaos to the House,” Smith said.
He later added, “Whatever he [Jeffries] decides and the caucus decides, I will follow. But he should go.”
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) also said Democrats will be united on motion to vacate vote.
“I think we understand that our unity is our power right now,” she said. “We’ve remained passionately united and I don’t expect anything different.”
If McCarthy is ousted, an acting Speaker would be appointed — chosen from a list of five names designated by McCarthy and shared with the House clerk, in a process implemented for continuity of government reasons after 9/11. What exactly would happen would throw the House into uncharted territory, but those in both parties expect that the acting Speaker would have the chief responsibility of presiding over a new Speaker’s election.
Cole said the House would likely recess, and each party would likely meet in a closed-door meeting to again designate a nominee for Speaker.
“I have no doubt in a situation like that Kevin McCarthy would be renominated right away,” Cole said.
Updated at 10:52 a.m.