As debt ceiling negotiations come down to the wire, House Republicans have become increasingly more vocal about their lack of support for a potential compromise and are pointing fingers at Speaker Kevin McCarthy—including potentially making a motion to vacate.
McCarthy and President Joe Biden announced a joint proposal Sunday to raise the $31.5 trillion debt limit for two years while cutting federal spending, days before the federal government is set to default on its obligations on June 5 and potentially cause economic chaos both domestically and globally.
McCarthy, who rose to the rank of speaker following a days-long, 15-vote saga, is confident that some “95 percent” of House Republicans will vote to pass the plan—which provides a fraction of what conservatives desired in terms of getting back unspent COVID-19 relief funds, and not going far enough regarding expanded work requirements for programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Rep. Dan Bishop says that Kevin McCarthy is “emasculating himself and the Republican majority,” and characterizes the debt ceiling deal with the White House as an “entire capitulation” and abandonment of “real ideas.” pic.twitter.com/LY4eZsMaqy
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) May 30, 2023
Representative Dan Bishop said Tuesday that the motion to vacate the chair—which requires just a single member under new rules adopted in January when McCarthy was appointed to his current position—is “absolutely” on the table, according to Politico’s Olivia Beavers, adding that to him it’s “inescapable” but must be “done” and will depend on whether his colleagues have courage.
“This is a disaster,” Bishop said Tuesday on Steve Bannon‘s War Room podcast. “It is an entire capitulation of the dynamic created in January that Republicans could be unified around a core set of real ideas that we were going to go to the mat to accomplish. Kevin McCarthy is emasculating himself and the Republican majority.”
Newsweek reached out to Bishop’s office via email.
“I’ll let each member speak for themselves,” Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry said Tuesday. “But for me, I am focused on defeating this bill. What happens post that and the agreements that we have we will decide once we determine the disposition of this bill in its finality.”
House Republicans that previously expressed opposition to this proposal include Florida’s Matt Gaetz and Anna Paulina Luna, Colorado’s Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck, Montana’s Matt Rosendale, Virginia’s Bob Good, Texas’ Chip Roy, Florida’s Byron Donalds and South Carolina’s Ralph Norman.
Norman has referred to the deal as “insanity,” saying the House caucus did not agree to a $4 trillion debt ceiling increase.
“Washington is broken,” South Carolina’s Nancy Mace said as part of a multi-tweet proclamation in opposition to McCarthy’s agreement. “Republicans got outsmarted by a President who can’t find his pants. I’m voting NO on the debt ceiling debacle because playing the DC game isn’t worth selling out our kids and grandkids.”
“The only person that would default in this town is Joe Biden unless Republicans default on the American dream by voting for this bad bill,” Roy said Tuesday.
“The McCarthy-Biden plan doesn’t stop, or even slow down, deficit spending,” Arizona’s Andy Biggs tweeted. “The plan doesn’t bend the spending curve down. The plan keeps us moving over the debt cliff with the GOP leadership’s mantra of ‘We’ll fight harder next year!’ Americans deserve better.”
Conservative commentator Laura Loomer has had strong words for Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has supported McCarthy since the speaker votes and has attempted to quell dissension among GOP members of the House.
“Why is @RepMTG continuing to defend such a disastrous bill that would devastate our country?” Loomer tweeted. “Why is she hell bent on working with McCarthy to destroy our country?”
Senator Lindsey Graham and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have also lashed out at McCarthy for the plan, with DeSantis saying it will still have “our country careening toward bankruptcy.” DeSantis is a Republican presidential candidate.
Patricia Crouse, a political science practitioner in residence at the University of New Haven, told Newsweek via email that McCarthy’s projection of optimism with the debt ceiling package has put him on “shaky ground.”
“With the slim Republican majority, it may take both Republicans and Democrats to pass the bill and he may not have the votes right now considering members of both parties have spoken out against the bill,” Crouse said. “If it does pass, you may see a disgruntled Republican test the new ‘one member rule’ to call for a new vote for a speaker.”
Daniel Alpert, a senior fellow in financial macroeconomics at Cornell University Law School, told Newsweek via phone that McCarthy’s situation is straightforward: he can’t surrender more than five votes against the proposal.
“He can’t lose without potentially losing his speakership,” Alpert said. “And I’m not saying that they’re absolutely correlated, but numbers are numbers and he can’t afford to lose so many votes in this coalition without losing the gavel.”