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SOURCES: Speaker Chair Could Be Vacated

State of the Union: If the debt ceiling deal passes, GOP sources believe conservatives would have the votes to vacate Speaker’s chair.

House Minority Leader McCarthy Briefs Press In Weekly News Conference
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Republican caucus is raucous over the debt ceiling deal struck between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.

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.


Rep. Ken Buck floated the motion to vacate during a House Freedom Caucus call on Monday night, sources allegedly told NBC News. Rep. Chip Roy has also reportedly floated the idea, according to the New York Times; and at a House Freedom Caucus press conference on Tuesday, Rep. Dan Bishop raised his hand, albeit seemingly comedically, when a reporter asked the group of caucus members if they’d vote to vacate the chair.

For the meantime, however, conservatives in the House are focused on killing the debt ceiling deal that passed through the House Rules Committee by a vote of seven to six on Monday night.

The vote came down to Rep. Thomas Massie, a fiscal hawk who was appointed to the rules committee as part of the power sharing agreement struck during the Speaker fight in January. Whereas Roy and South Carolina Republican Ralph Norman, the two representatives of the House Freedom Caucus on the Rules Committee, voted with the committee’s four Democrats against passing the deal through the committee, Massie sided with the other six Rules Committee Republicans.

It’s a disappointing result—Massie voting against the deal was likely conservatives’ best chance to stop the debt ceiling deal from passing. In caucus and conference meetings since, conservative members of the GOP have made their frustrations known. While it appears that the legislation will likely get through the House, sail through the Senate, and receive the president’s signature, round the clock work continues to strip as much Republican support as possible from McCarthy’s deal.

“McCarthy gave away the farm and folded like a cheap suit,” one GOP aide familiar with the matter told The American Conservative. Biden and the Democrats got, “everything they wanted. It’s stunning how bad he was at negotiating this,” the aide continued. “No one expected it to be this bad.”


“Even McConnell would have done a better job,” the aide claimed.

“Calling it a ‘deal’ would infer that we got something valuable in exchange for being strapped with $4 trillion in new debt. This wasn’t a deal. It was a shakedown, and the American people are the ones who suffer,” Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona told TAC. “This is a slap in the face to every hardworking American.”

Thus far, more than 30 members of the House GOP have come out to publicly oppose the deal, but sources on Capitol Hill suggest that there are many more Republicans who have privately expressed their intention to vote against it. 

“McCarthy will have to rely on Dems to pass the rule,” another GOP aide told TAC. Sources, however, could not confirm if the ‘nay’ contingent was a majority of the Republican conference. One GOP source with knowledge of the matter said that the deal will likely pass with more Democratic support than Republican support.

“A ‘yes’ vote on this idiotic proposal is a betrayal of Republicans’ promise to restore fiscal sanity to a government accountable to We the People,” Crane claimed. “The status quo is disgracefully untenable. Change is needed urgently to protect the future of our nation.”

If it manages to pass, it appears all options are on the table.

A previous version of this article claimed that Rep. Buck voted against passing the bill through the Rules Committee instead of Rep. Norman. We regret the error.


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