Rep. Ken Buck Threatens To Remove McCarthy

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Colorado Rep. Ken Buck said Wednesday that Republicans will consider removing Kevin McCarthy from the speakership after the House of Representatives passes a debt ceiling increase.

“I think he should be concerned” about a motion to vacate the chair, Buck told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “I’m not suggesting the votes are there to remove the speaker, but the speaker promised that we would operate at 2022 appropriations levels when he got the support to be speaker. He’s now changed that to 2023 levels plus one percent. That’s a major change for a lot of people. And so after this vote — and he will win the vote tonight — but after this vote, we will have discussions about whether there should be a motion to vacate or not.”


Although Buck supported McCarthy during the January speaker votes, he and other members of the House Freedom Caucus objected to the Californian’s negotiations with President Joe Biden over the debt ceiling. Buck has blasted the Fiscal Responsibility Act as “a disaster” and “pure folly.” The legislation would suspend the debt ceiling through Jan. 1, 2025, and does not set a dollar limit on the amount of debt the federal government can incur.

Republican Reps. Dan Bishop of North Carolina and Matt Gaetz of Florida both floated removing McCarthy on Tuesday, with Bishop saying a motion to vacate the chair “has to happen.” Gaetz added that passing the debt ceiling increase with a larger portion of Democratic votes than Republican ones would be a “black letter violation” of his agreement with the conservative holdouts and would lead to a motion to vacate.

“It only requires five votes if the Democrats all vote for Hakeem Jeffries. It only requires five votes for Kevin McCarthy not to get elected. What I’m saying is we don’t have a majority of Republicans to vote for somebody else at this point in time,” Buck noted. (RELATED: House Passes Rules Package. Here’s What Conservatives Won)

The Fiscal Responsibility Act cleared a major hurdle Wednesday afternoon when 189 Republicans and 52 Democrats voted to advance it to the House floor. Buck was one of several House Republicans who voted to advance the bill but will oppose final passage.