McCarthy to Gaetz’s Leadership Challenge: ‘Yes, I’ll Survive.’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) remains steadfast amid challenges to his leadership role.

In a recent conversation with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” McCarthy was questioned about Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) announcement to file a “motion to vacate” against him. Addressing this, McCarthy stated, “That’s nothing new. He’s tried to do that from the moment I ran for [the] office,” and confidently added, “Yes, I’ll survive.”

The backdrop to this political drama is the House’s recent decision to pass a short-term spending bill with a 335-91 vote, a move that garnered Democratic support and averted a potential government shutdown. Gaetz, vocal in his criticism, accused McCarthy of violating an “agreement” with conservative factions. This agreement, according to Gaetz, was instrumental in McCarthy’s election as speaker after 15 rounds of voting in January. Gaetz also expressed discontent with McCarthy’s collaborations with Democrats, particularly accusing him of decisions that “really blow past spending guardrails we’d set up.”

Following the House’s decision, the Democrat-controlled Senate gave its nod to the bill, which was subsequently signed by President Joe Biden, ensuring the government remained operational. This temporary measure is seen as a bridge, allowing lawmakers to deliberate on the budget for the forthcoming fiscal year. Gaetz’s criticisms didn’t end there; he also took issue with McCarthy’s alleged “side deal” with Democrats concerning aid to Ukraine. However, Gaetz did concede that he expects the Democrats to “bail out” McCarthy in the end.

McCarthy, in his defense, suggested that Gaetz’s actions were driven by personal motives. He remarked, “this is personal” for Gaetz and went on to say that Gaetz appeared “more interested” in landing TV interviews than in addressing pivotal issues like the U.S.-Mexico border situation and the looming government shutdown.

The current procedural rules of the House indicate that just one member can set in motion a process that might result in a no-confidence vote against the speaker. To successfully unseat the speaker, a straightforward majority is needed. This means that a combination of Democrats and a few dissenting Republicans could potentially topple McCarthy.

Facing the prospect of such a challenge, McCarthy’s response was resolute: “Bring it on,” he declared. “Let’s get over with it, and let’s start governing.”