Last Updated on January 3, 2023
As additional House Freedom Caucus Republicans signal that they will not be voting for Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for House Speaker, the longtime GOP House leader reportedly threatened to remove said members from key committees in a desperate bid to hold onto power, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told reporters on Tuesday morning.
“We offered Kevin McCarthy terms last evening that he rejected. We’ve sought a vote in a first quarter of the 118 Congress on term limits or he refused if we wanted a budget from the Republican Study Committee that balances on the floor in the first quarter. He refused,” Gaetz said in a statement explaining his decision to vote against McCarthy. “We wanted the border plan that the Texas delegation put together on the floor. He refused.”
One reporter asked the Florida congressman if he was worried about losing committee positions. “Do you think you will be kicked off your committees because based on that conversation that happened in there?” the reporter asked, referencing the reportedly heated GOP conference meeting that took place minutes before.
“We were threatened by my committee chairman, to be on the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Rogers, that if we did not vote for Mr. McCarthy we would be removed from committees,” Gaetz replied.
“Our position is that if Kevin McCarthy is the Speaker of the House, and we don’t have the ability to ensure there is ‘oomph’ behind the agenda, and energy behind our oversight, that committees don’t matter anyway,” he continued. “I’m not here to participate in some kind of a puppet show where we pass a bunch of messaging bills, send them to the Senate, watch them die, refuse to use leverage, and don’t hold the Biden administration accountable.”
“I don’t want to relive the Benghazi experience where it is just theater pretending to be oversight. We can do better than that and that is our purpose,” he continued.
As matters currently stand, Kevin McCarthy is facing at least seven confirmed “no” votes with additional House Freedom Caucus members strongly indicating similar feelings. McCarthy cannot afford more than four defectors, though he is currently dealing with at least seven on record.