Oct 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy plans aggressive counter to Gaetz's threat to gavel

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McCarthy just before Saturday's vote averting a shutdown. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has spent a cumulative six hours talking to the Capitol press corps since the House returned on Sept. 12, according to a tally by his office.

Why it matters: McCarthy will keep an aggressive but not angry posture this week as he fights off an imminent threat to his gavel, sources close to him say.

What they're saying: "I'll survive," McCarthy said nonchalantly to Margaret Brennan on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday — just after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) vowed on CNN to force a vote this week to try to oust McCarthy. "This is personal with Matt."

  • On avoiding a shutdown when this weekend's stopgap expires Nov. 17 (six days before Thanksgiving), McCarthy said: "We're not going to surrender to the Senate. We passed what the American people want."

The intrigue: On CNN's "State of the Union," Tapper told Gaetz: "I have seen personal communications between you and other people in which you blame McCarthy for your ethics investigation."

  • Gaetz didn't deny that but said: "I have tens of millions of Americans who stand with me."

What's next: Gaetz would likely need the vast majority of Democrats to vote with him to boot McCarthy. But many Democrats aren't on board.

  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a member of the Progressive Caucus, said McCarthy "did the right thing … and I'll definitely vote not to vacate. I expect a good number of Democrats will as well."

Go deeper: Gaetz's plan to oust McCarthy meets chilly Dem reception

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