Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s job is on the line as the House returns on Tuesday to confront a funding impasse that could lead to a government shutdown or a challenge to the California Republican’s hold on the top post in the House.
Far-right Republicans are refusing to back a measure to keep the federal government funded past Sept. 30 without substantial spending cuts and stringent new border policies that stand little chance of becoming law. They are also threatening to depose Mr. McCarthy should he turn to Democrats for assistance in scrounging together the votes he needs to avoid a shutdown.
Intensifying the pressure, Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and frequent critic of the speaker, planned to deliver a floor speech on Tuesday outlining the arch-conservative case against Mr. McCarthy, laying the groundwork for a potential move to oust him. The criticism was to cover what Mr. Gaetz and others see as Mr. McCarthy’s failure to live up to promises he made to win the speakership, including his handling of the budget process and continuing investigations of President Biden and his family.
“Stay tuned,” Mr. Gaetz said on Monday night when reached for comment, though he declined to elaborate.
In a bid to hold off his detractors, allies of Mr. McCarthy said he would tell House Republicans this week that he endorsed an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Biden, a plan reported earlier by Punchbowl News. The move is intended to rally conservatives behind him, but it is unclear whether it would be sufficient to protect him from a challenge should he cross the right wing in the spending negotiations.
Gaetz: Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role. The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you into immediate total compliance or remove you, pic.twitter.com/KbrkpZ14hZ— Acyn (@Acyn) September 12, 2023
Conservative Rep. Ken Buck is just one of several House Republicans standing in the way of the right’s push to impeach President Joe Biden.
But his high-profile seat on the key House Judiciary Committee, recent outspoken interviews railing against the House GOP’s investigative efforts, and long track record of bucking his own party have put a target on his back in conservative circles.
Now, there is a serious effort underway to find a candidate to mount a primary challenge against Buck in his solidly red district in eastern Colorado, three GOP sources told CNN – the latest sign of tension as the House GOP grapples with internal divisions over everything from its agenda to former President Donald Trump.
“It really comes to how do you prioritize your time? I don’t know of anybody who believes [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] will take it up and actually have a trial and convict a sitting president,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team.
Cornyn noted that House Republicans could investigate the Bidens without launching a formal impeachment inquiry because they control the lower chamber.
“Since they got the majority, they got the chairmen of the various committees, they could do all of that now without going to a formal inquiry,” he said. “Members of the House don’t really care what I think. All I can tell you, it’s unlikely to be successful in the Senate.
“Rather than doing something they know is unlikely to end the way they would like, maybe they want to emphasize other things.”
Cornyn is far from alone in his assessment.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) on Monday expressed reservation about linking a bill to avoid a government shutdown to a vote on launching impeachment proceedings.
“Well, obviously they can launch [a formal inquiry] there without tying it to government funding. Hopefully they can work all that out, how they want to handle those issues in the House,” he said.
Asked if there’s enough evidence to impeach Biden, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), another member of the Senate GOP leadership team, replied: “I do not.”