Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is reportedly offering Democrats subpoena power in exchange for their assistance in removing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), according to Politico’s Friday report.
“He’s been talking to everybody about [ousting McCarthy],” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Politico. “I told him in our caucus, in the Progressive Caucus, we’re not planning to save McCarthy — for a whole host of reasons.”
Gaetz denied engaging in dialogue with Democrats related to the effort, emphasizing his focus on attempting to defeat the short-term spending bill that McCarthy successfully pushed through on Saturday. Yet, according to The New York Post, Gaetz has gone even further in offering subpoena power for the House Oversight Committee in the Biden impeachment inquiry as incentive for collaborating with him to remove McCarthy from his position.
According to the Post, Gaetz’s “backroom proposal would potentially allow Democrats on the GOP-led panel to select which witnesses receive subpoenas in the investigation into the 80-year-old president’s involvement in his family’s overseas business dealings, and allow them to nix the subpoenas from Republican members — which could derail the probe.”
It is uncertain what power Gaetz holds to grant such concessions to the Democrats, and a spokesperson for Gaetz denied the claims. For some time now, Gaetz has been an adversary of McCarthy. During the January election for Speaker of the House, Gaetz refused to back McCarthy on the 14th ballot, instead voting “present” in order to prevent him from obtaining a majority of votes and consequently securing his speakership.
McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House on the 15th ballot, following a tense altercation between Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Rep. Gaetz.
The incident occurred after Gaetz had declared his intent to challenge McCarthy’s leadership if he pursued legislation to pass spending bills without conservative priorities or spending cuts.
On Sunday, he informed CNN’s State of the Union anchor Jake Tapper that he would be introducing a motion to vacate the chair this week.
Tapper informed Gaetz that he had viewed personal communications in which Gaetz attributed the ethics investigation to McCarty.
Tapper said, “There are a lot of House Republicans that think that there is this personal animus between you and Speaker McCarthy. I have to ask you, how much do you blame Speaker McCarthy for the fact that you are under investigation by the House Ethics Committee? How much is that part of what’s going on here?”
Gaetz denied his motivations were personal before attacking McCarthy for “gaslighting the Ethics Committee.”
It is evident that Gaetz would require substantial support from Democrats for his motion to be successful. There have been few Republicans expressing they would potentially back Gaetz, whose motion requires 218 votes.
When asked how many Republicans would join him, Gaetz replied, “Enough so that when you host this show next week, if Kevin McCarthy is still speaker of the house, he will be serving at the pleasure of the Democrats… The only way Kevin McCarthy is speaker at the end of this coming week is if Democrats bail him out.”
Tapper demanded that, in order to gain support from the Democrats, Gaetz must also negotiate with them. “I refuse to come to an agreement or compromise with the Democrats and I believe that they should vote against Speaker McCarthy without any condition.”
In September, Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA), the House Minority Whip, indicated that Democrats would require concessions from McCarthy to oppose the Gaetz motion.
This was a clear implication that if their demands were not met, they might be forced to align with Gaetz in order to remove McCarthy.
“We want him to live up to the agreement [on toppling spending] that he made [with President Biden]. We want to get disaster aid out. We want to continue our support for Ukraine. And we want them to end this sham of an impeachment inquiry,” Clark said.
Gaetz told Tapper, “I don’t think any Republicans who share my view on speaker McCarthy would cut deals with Democrats. But here’s the thing: I’m done owning Kevin McCarthy. We made a deal in January to allow him to assume the speakership, and I’m not owning him anymore, because he doesn’t tell the truth.”
“So if Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy by bailing him out, I can’t stop them. But then he’ll be their speaker, not mine,” Gaetz concluded.