Some House Republicans who have clashed with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on questions of government spending have been debating the names of other candidates to replace him, The Washington Post reported.
McCarthy, who was elected Speaker in January after 15 rounds of voting in the House, has been frequently attacked by members of the House Freedom Caucus and others, such as Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, for not insisting on heavy cuts to public spending.
These members, led by Gaetz, have frequently threatened to force a vote to remove McCarthy from office, and are reportedly considering House Majority Whip Tom Emmer as a replacement, according to the Post.
“I fully support Speaker McCarthy. He knows that and I know that,” Emmer told the Post. “I have zero interest in palace intrigue. End of discussion.”
Gaetz has threatened to file a motion to vacate the chair, the procedural measure that would remove McCarthy from office and pause all the work of the House until a new speaker is elected, multiple times, according to the Post.
Apart from Emmer, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan was the subject of earlier speculation as a consensus choice between conservative and moderate members.
Jordan denied that he wished to be the speaker, according to comments reported by CNN, and frequently delivered speeches nominating McCarthy for the position, even as he was repeatedly nominated by Gaetz and Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas.
Gaetz also cast a vote for former President Donald Trump during the multiple rounds of voting, with the speaker not being required by the Constitution to be a member of the House.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is currently being treated for blood cancer, has also been mentioned by conservatives as an alternative to McCarthy, according to the Post.
“The problem is — and this is the same problem we saw with the 15 ballots at the beginning of the year — it is my belief that there is nobody at this point in time that has the majority votes in order to become speaker other than Kevin McCarthy,” Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia said in a statement to Politico. “If you know somebody, name them.”
McCarthy was previously denied the speakership due to conservative opposition in 2015 after then-Speaker John Boehner retired. Then-Rep. Paul Ryan, who was the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in the 2012 presidential election, later assumed the role as a compromise candidate.