Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) brushed off threats to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) top position, saying threats from conservative Republicans to remove him don’t hold water.
“It only takes four Republicans to potentially put [McCarthy] at risk and lose the speakership, but the fact is they have no alternative,” Bacon said Friday in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press NOW. “They have nobody else that they can offer to put up there that the 200 of us would ever vote for.”
A small group of conservative Republicans, most notably Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), have repeatedly threatened to call a vote to remove McCarthy over inaction on impeaching President Biden and government funding measures.
McCarthy backed an impeachment probe of Biden and his family’s business dealings earlier this month after initial threats, but has budged little in negotiating with the group on the federal budget. Infighting within the House GOP conference has made a government shutdown more likely as McCarthy struggles to pass Republican-backed spending bills, let alone a bill that would pass the Democratic-led Senate.
Congress has until the end of the day on Sept. 30 to pass funding to keep the government open.
Despite the threats, Bacon believes that McCarthy isn’t going anywhere.
“I think the speaker’s position is secure,” he said Friday. “It may go through turbulence. A vacate the chair motion, I don’t think it would survive the table vote.”
“Especially if the speaker decided to start working across the aisle and get a bipartisan deal, I think you’d have some Democrats vote ‘present’ and not vote to vacate,” Bacon added.
At the end of the day, the small group of dissenters do not have enough pull to change the opinions of the remaining Republicans, he argued.
“We have 5 people who want it their way or the highway,” the moderate conservative lawmaker quipped. “The problem is the other 210 people don’t.”
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