Hard-line Republican threats to force a vote on ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his post could soon thrust Democrats into a difficult decision: Do they save the Speaker who opened an impeachment inquiry into their president or join Republicans in booting him?

Top Democrats say they have not formulated a strategy for handling such a vote, dismissing questions as hypothetical and insisting that they are focused on funding the government and averting a shutdown ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

But Democrats’ votes could save — or end — McCarthy’s Speakership, which he clinched after a marathon 15 rounds of voting in January.

“It would be a big question,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, told The Hill on Tuesday.

That question, however, is of high interest, and Democrats may have to answer it sooner rather than later.

McCarthy hasn’t been able to unite his fractious conference around a plan to fund the government, threats to oust him are growing louder, and internal GOP sniping is spilling into public view.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of McCarthy’s top adversaries, put the Speaker on notice last week, announcing in a floor speech that he would force a vote on booting him if he does not meet a list of demands on spending and legislation.

On Tuesday, a reporter found what appeared to be a House resolution drafted by Gaetz in a Capitol bathroom that said “the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.” The Hill could not independently confirm the authenticity of the document.

McCarthy, for his part, has brushed aside the idea that his gavel is in jeopardy. Asked on Monday if he thinks he will need support from the other side of the aisle to salvage his Speakership, McCarthy responded “I’m not worried about that.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) over the weekend said the Democratic caucus “haven’t given it any thought one way or the other” when asked about a potential vote on ousting McCarthy, adding that the group will “cross that bridge when we get to it.”

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) would not say if leadership would whip a vote on ousting McCarthy — “we’re gonna cross that” — but she predicted that Democrats will remain united.

“We have been unified on every single vote, so we’ll stay that way,” Clark told The Hill.

Some Democrats have flat out said or suggested that they would support an effort to oust McCarthy, upping the pressure on the Speaker.

“I don’t see any Democrats out to save McCarthy, like we’re on Team Jeffries,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who has sparred with McCarthy in the past, told The Hill last week. “And so, you know, we would try and put up the votes for Speaker Jeffries, like that’s what we did on the last Speaker vote.”

“Vacating gets us closer, you know, to Team Jeffries, so that’s how I see it,” the California Democrat said, adding that he would vote to oust McCarthy.

Earlier this month, Swalwell accused Gaetz of making “empty threats” about ousting McCarthy in a post on X, adding “Gaetz folded like a cheap card table to make McCarthy speaker and will never — I repeat never — make a motion to remove McCarthy.”

The Florida Republican shot back, asking his Democratic opponent, “If I made a motion to remove Kevin, how many democrat votes can I count on?” Since that social media back-and-forth, McCarthy has said Gaetz is working with Swalwell to oust him.

Jayapal said if the vote is a referendum on McCarthy as a Speaker, it will be a clear choice for Democrats.

“I think at the end of the day, if we’re voting on whether Kevin McCarthy is a good Speaker or not, then the answer would be pretty clear,” she said.

But the idea of jumping on board with conservatives to remove the Speaker is one that runs counter to the general thinking of Democrats, who have never been enthused about the motion to vacate process, going so far as to not including the option in the House rules when they controlled the chamber. 


Original story HERE