WASHINGTON — Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to remain in leadership is now seriously at risk after the House voted Tuesday to move ahead with an effort by hard-right Republican critics to oust him.
The narrow vote forced by McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, brought together a handful of conservative Republican critics of the speaker and many Democrats who say he is not worthy of leadership.
By refusing to table the motion, or set it aside, the House now opens an extraordinary floor debate ahead of the next round of voting. A final outcome could be delayed.
McCarthy insists he will not cut a deal with Democrats to remain in power.
The House quickly opened debate on whether to oust McCarthy as speaker after the Tuesday vote, his job at risk from a conservative rebellion.
Republicans are upset that McCarthy relied on Democratic votes Saturday to approve the temporary measure to keep the government running until Nov. 17. Some would have preferred a government shutdown as they fight for deeper spending cuts.
But Democrats are also upset at McCarthy for walking away from the debt deal that he made with President Joe Biden earlier this year that already set federal spending levels as he emboldens his right-flank to push for steep spending reductions.