OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A number of House conservatives angry about the passage of a debt ceiling bill on Wednesday they don’t believe cuts spending nearly enough have threatened to topple Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“The hard-fought deal pleased few, but lawmakers assessed it was better than the alternative — a devastating economic upheaval if Congress failed to act,” The Associated Press reported, adding that Republicans and Democrats complained about elements of the measure.
According to reports, some spending was capped while other Republican priorities were included in the measure as well. Extreme left-wing Democrats, meanwhile, were angry over the fact that President Joe Biden agreed to any spending cuts at all and was imploring him to hold out longer.
The AP added:
McCarthy insisted his party was working to “give America hope” as he launched into a late evening speech extolling the bill’s budget cuts, which he said were needed to curb Washington’s “runaway spending.” But amid discontent from Republicans who said the spending restrictions did not go far enough, McCarthy said it is only a “first step.”
Earlier, Biden expressed optimism that the agreement he negotiated with McCarthy to lift the nation’s borrowing limit would pass the chamber and avoid an economically disastrous default on America’s debts. The president departed Washington for Colorado, where he is scheduled to deliver the commencement address Thursday at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“God willing by the time I land, Congress will have acted, the House will have acted, and we’ll be one step closer,” he said.
Not quite; the voting in the House began about 90 minutes after Biden arrived at the academy. The final tally was 314-117 for passage, and the measure now goes to the Senate, where passage is expected by the end of the week.
All told, however, McCarthy’s future as Speaker may be in jeopardy.
“I think he should be concerned” about a motion to vacate the chair, Rep. Kin Buck told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Wednesday.
“I’m not suggesting the votes are there to remove the speaker, but the speaker promised that we would operate at 2022 appropriations levels when he got the support to be the speaker. He’s now changed that to 2023 levels plus one percent,” Buck added, according to The Daily Caller.
“That’s a major change for a lot of people. And so after this vote — and he will win the vote tonight — but after this vote, we will have discussions about whether there should be a motion to vacate or not,” Buck added.
“It only requires five votes if the Democrats all vote for [Democratic leader Rep.] Hakeem Jeffries. It only requires five votes for Kevin McCarthy not to get elected. What I’m saying is we don’t have a majority of Republicans to vote for somebody else at this point in time,” Buck added.
According to The American Conservative, “Some representatives have gone so far as to float the idea of using the vacate motion to try and remove McCarthy as speaker if this deal manages to go through. GOP sources told TAC that if someone were to move forward with a motion to vacate the chair, there would likely be enough votes to reignite the fight over Speaker of the House.”
Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) have floated the idea of removing McCarthy as well, in addition to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). During an appearance on the “War Room” podcast Wednesday, she accused McCarthy of a “violation” of his promise to allow amendments in the House Rules Committee.
“If this bill passes with a majority of Democrats voting in favor of it, then I’m sorry, that’s the end of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership,” she warned. “That is a bad, bad look to pass a bill of this magnitude without the support of the majority and if it’s Democrats.”