Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) broke ranks with many of his fellow Republicans on Tuesday, publicly advocating for the removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-NC) from his House leadership position. Bishop’s stance, which pivots on the recent debt ceiling deal between McCarthy and Joe Biden, may mark a pivotal moment in the House’s power dynamics.
“Removing Speaker McCarthy is now on the table,” stated Bishop, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. However, he added that he’d only initiate the process if his motion garners broad support. Bishop is not one to make such a decisive move solo, stating, “it depends on what the members who have courage” do when voting time arrives.
"McCarthy caved. Total capitulation." pic.twitter.com/fYnAcLKES9
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) May 30, 2023
While any single member of the House can file a motion to vacate the chair, a narrow margin shields McCarthy. The Speaker can only weather up to four Republican defections, assuming no Democratic intervention. This possible reshuffling of House leadership signifies a substantial escalation within the Freedom Caucus, with several members still undecided on their stance concerning the motion to vacate.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) stated, “I am focused on this bill. We will decide once we’ve determined the disposition of this bill in its finality.” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) echoed this sentiment, explaining he’ll address the leadership issue once the debt ceiling bill is settled.
👀 Roy calls the deal a "betrayal of the power sharing arrangement that we put in place" among House GOP
Adds if he can't kill it in Rules Committee or on the floor "then we're going to have to then regroup and figure out the whole leadership arrangement again" https://t.co/UYV8a4oVfk
— Jordain Carney (@jordainc) May 30, 2023
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) suggested on Glenn Beck’s show this week that Republicans might need to “figure out the whole leadership arrangement again” if the debt ceiling bill passes.
This internal schism within the Republican ranks revolves around the recent agreement to increase the U.S. government’s borrowing limit beyond the 2024 election. Some view McCarthy’s acquiescence to this deal as a victory for President Biden, who aims to avoid another tumultuous debt ceiling negotiation before the 2024 presidential campaign.
Republicans have secured some gains in this deal. A notable $40 billion in unspent coronavirus relief will be clawed back, and IRS funding increases will see some cuts. Despite these wins, a segment of the Republican caucus appears disheartened by what they perceive as a capitulation to Democratic fiscal demands.
Speaking on the controversy, Roy lamented, “The Republican conference right now has been torn asunder.” The Texas conservative also expressed his belief that “No matter what happens, there’s going to be a reckoning about what just occurred unless we stop this bill by tomorrow.”
Bishop’s call for McCarthy’s removal exemplifies a growing dissatisfaction with House leadership. This, along with the brewing uncertainty among House Republicans, points to potential upheaval within the caucus. Bishop has fired the first salvo. Now, all eyes will be on the Republican caucus as they decide whether to stand by their leader or seek a change at the top.