The political career of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is on the line. Internal party dissent threatens to push him out. At the same time, Democrats blame him for steering the government perilously close to a full-scale shutdown.
According to EWN, McCarthy struck a last-minute deal late Saturday to extend government funding for another 45 days. However, this agreement left right-wing Republicans incensed because it did not include the deep spending cuts they had fervently advocated. Simultaneously, Democrats accused the Speaker of backpedalling on commitments intended to avert a budget crisis.
Prominent hardline Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz announced on Sunday that he plans to initiate proceedings to unseat McCarthy as House Speaker over his role in forging the compromise with Democrats. Gaetz, a prominent figure among far-right Republican lawmakers, played a key role in pushing the government to the brink of a shutdown by steadfastly opposing new federal funding without substantial spending reductions.
US President Joe Biden did not mince words when criticising both McCarthy and the hardline faction, accusing them of failing to honour an agreement struck months ago. This deal was designed to stave off a damaging shutdown showdown and provide vital support to Ukraine. During a press conference, Biden demanded, “Stop playing games, get this done,” venting his frustration with political brinkmanship and broken promises.
Gaetz acknowledged that, despite objections from Democrats, they could still throw their weight behind McCarthy as Speaker, notably after he brokered a bipartisan resolution to prevent the shutdown. Gaetz noted, “The only way Kevin McCarthy remains Speaker of the House by the end of this week is if Democrats come to his rescue.”
McCarthy has weathered tumultuous situations before, narrowly clinching the position of the 55th Speaker of the House in January. He had to make concessions to the far-right faction within his party. One benefit was introducing a rule change that allowed a single member to initiate a vote for a new Speaker.
Despite the current uncertainty, McCarthy expressed confidence in his ability to withstand attempts to remove him, declaring on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “I will survive.” Supporters of McCarthy within the Republican ranks have already pledged their loyalty.
However, the spectre of a removal vote could hamper the work of Congress, which must meet the mid-November deadline to complete essential tasks. McCarthy’s negotiated stopgap measure buys lawmakers time to hash out full-year spending bills for the remainder of fiscal 2024.
Had Congress failed to maintain government operations, shutdowns would have commenced just after midnight, impacting millions of federal workers and military personnel and causing salary disruptions. The situation remains fluid, with the outcome dependent on ever-evolving political dynamics within the Republican Party and the extent of potential Democratic backing for McCarthy.
Picture: Facebook / Kevin McCarthy
Follow us on Google News.