House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's position has come under fire following a recent deal with President Joe Biden.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) on Tuesday became the first House conservative to suggest McCarthy could be ousted over the debt deal. "Absolutely," Bishop told POLITICO in an interview on Tuesday, when asked about using the tool that can be used to force out a sitting speaker.
🚨BREAKING: House Freedom Caucus leaves open possibility of filing a motion to vacate the chair if Speaker McCarthy pushes through the debt deal
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 30, 2023
The procedure Bishop is considering would trigger a vote of no confidence against McCarthy — a tool that’s been weaponized by the House Freedom Caucus against the past two speakers in attempts to keep party leaders from leaning too much towards the center. It would take only one House member to trigger the vote, which would require a majority to remove the speaker from office.
Bishop said that he would need support from other colleagues before taking such move. However, another Freedom Caucus member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said ousting McCarthy is on the table.
Conservatives have supported McCarthy up until now, but his deal with Biden has changed the tone. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on a radio show on Tuesday called the deal a "betrayal of the power sharing arrangement that we put in place" among the House GOP and suggested leadership arrangements would need to be reconsidered if he can’t prevent the deal from passing.
Not all members of the Freedom Caucus are onboard with the suggestion. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) — another vocal opponent of the deal — told reporters on Tuesday it would be “unfair” to McCarthy for conservatives to jump to that option.
McCarthy's allies are concerned that conservatives could follow through on the suggestion to oust the speaker. McCarthy, in response to the criticisms, stated that he is willing to work with all his colleagues to keep the GOP unified.
"I am here to serve, not to rule, and I am always open to the ideas of my colleagues, both Republican and Democrat," McCarthy said. "We are in a battle for the future of our economy and our country, and I am committed to working with President Biden and all members of the House to pass legislation to create economic growth and opportunity for all Americans."
If conservatives are successful in pushing for McCarthy's ousting, it would create a power vacuum in the House GOP — a situation that neither the conservatives nor President Biden would like to see.