WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) dared his right-wing haters to try to take away his speaker’s gavel during a closed-door meeting Thursday morning.
“If you want to file a motion to vacate, then file the fucking motion,” McCarthy told his Republican colleagues, according to Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), a McCarthy supporter.
The federal government will partially shut down at the end of the month if Congress can’t pass a spending bill, and House Republicans have no clear plan to pass one.
As has been the case all year, McCarthy is caught between ultraconservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are insisting on lower spending levels than the Senate or the White House would accept, and the rest of his conference.
On Tuesday, McCarthy added another wrinkle to the situation by opening an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden ― but even though McCarthy’s far-right critics have long called for such a step, they weren’t mollified.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called it a “baby step,” criticized McCarthy for refusing to support lower spending, and threatened to file a motion to vacate the chair, which would force an immediate no-confidence vote in the speaker.
On Wednesday, the House abandoned plans to vote on a defense spending bill that would be part of an eventual government funding package, apparently because McCarthy couldn’t muster enough support for the measure.
Gaetz responded Thursday to McCarthy’s expletive with one of his own.
“How about just move the fucking spending bills?” he told CNN.