Why Dems Shouldn't Save McCarthy
The embattled Speaker cannot be trusted, so the Dems should let the GOP solve its own problems
The government didn’t shut down — at least not yet.
At the last minute, Speaker Kevin McCarthy reversed course and allowed a vote to keep the government open for 45 days at its current spending levels. All of the current self-inflicted economic drama has been for naught. The bill passed with more than 300 votes, delaying the crisis until right before Thanksgiving.
McCarthy had repeatedly promised the Far Right Republican caucus that he would not pass such a bill. However, with no way to appease enough members of the Freedom Caucus (and get the needed 218 votes), McCarthy caved. As a consequence, this may be his last week as Speaker.
Last night, Trump ally and MAGA rabble rouser Matt Gaetz introduced a motion to vacate the chair. As Gaetz previewed to Jake Tapper on CNN:
“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January, and since then he’s been in brazen, repeated material breach of that agreement. This agreement that he made with Democrats to really blow past a lot of the spending guardrails we set up is a last straw. I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week. I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that will be trustworthy.”
Punchbowl, the Congressional newsletter, speculates that there could be as many as 20 Republicans planning to vote against McCarthy.
One wrinkle in the process. McCarthy is trying to keep his job as Speaker of the House — not leader of the Republican Caucus. The Speaker is elected by the House of Representatives. So, he doesn’t need 218 Republican votes —he just needs 218 votes, period. Democrats could play a crucial part in helping him keep his job.
And, in recent days, there has already been rampant speculation about whether some or all Democrats should vote against the motion to vacate. There have been a number of theories as to why this would be a good idea — ranging from a Sorkin-esque fantasy about bipartisan compromise to the obvious joy that could come from legislatively punching Matt Gaetz in his particularly punchable face.
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