House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vented publicly against members of his Republican conference Saturday after a stopgap spending bill rode Democratic support to House passage.
The bill passed 335-91, with 209 Democrats and 126 Republicans in support. One Democrat and 90 Republicans voted against it.
After the vote, McCarthy expressed his frustration.
“You can always count on Americans to do what’s right after they’ve exhausted every other option,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy noted that he tried to listen to all of the divergent opinions form his conference in the days leading up to Saturday’s vote.
“I tried every possible way listening to every single person in the caucus,” McCarthy said.
“It was tough, but we got it through,” he said.
McCarthy: If you have members of your conference that will not let you vote for appropriations bills and will not vote for a stopgap measure so the only option is to shut down and not pay our troops I don’t want to be a part of that team. pic.twitter.com/iMnyrgxAVb
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 30, 2023
McCarthy said the stopgap bill that went down in flames Friday night would “secure our border [and] cut wasteful spending, but I had some members in our own conference that wouldn’t vote for that.”
The bill that passed eliminated aid for Ukraine conservative Republicans opposed as well as spending cuts conservative Republicans had wanted.
“So if you have members in your conference that won’t let you vote for appropriation bills, doesn’t want an omnibus, and won’t vote for a stopgap measure — so the only answer is to shut down and not pay our troops, I don’t want to be a part of that team,” he said.
“I want to be a part of a conservative group that wants to get things done,” he said.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida had repeatedly said that if McCarthy should do what in fact he did – frame a bill that would bypass conservatives and gain support for Democrats – Gaetz would instigate a process to have McCarthy removed as Speaker.
“If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” McCarthy said, according to NBC. “There has to be an adult in the room.”
“There’s no bill that can pass with one party or the other,” McCarthy said.
“When are you guys gonna get over that it’s alright that you put America first. That it’s alright if Republicans and Democrats joined together to do what is right,” he added.
After the vote on the stopgap bill, Gaetz tried to get the attention of the chair for the day, Republican Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, but Womack did not recognize him as the House adjourned until Monday.
Gaetz later said McCarthy’s speakership was “on some tenuous ground.”
Not everyone was abandoning McCarthy.
“I think Kevin McCarthy has done a phenomenal job as speaker. I think he’s been continually underestimated. And here again today, you saw him lead,” Republican Rep. Mike Lawler of New York said. “So at the end of the day, if somebody wants to bring a motion to vacate, that’s their business. But it will be defeated,”
Due to the expectations the stopgap bill would pass the Senate, the House no longer has two weeks off in October. The House will have votes scheduled on Oct. 2-5 and again Oct. 10-13 according to The Washington Post.