Rep. Jason Smith calls Gaetz’s push to oust McCarthy a ‘waste of time’

Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) push to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is a “waste of time,” that will slow walk passing individual spending bills, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) said Sunday.

When asked on Fox News Business’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” about Gaetz’s threat, Smith said, “It’s an absolute waste of time if he brings a motion to vacate.”

“The only way a motion to vacate could be successful is is Matt Gaetz did exactly what he yells at Speaker McCarthy doing and that’s working with the Democrats,” Smith continued.

The Missouri Republican argued Gaetz would need over 200 Democrats to vote for McCarthy’s removal due to the over 200 Republicans that he said are “100 percent” behind McCarthy.

Smith’s comments come shortly after Gaetz told CNN and ABC News he would make good on his threat to unseat McCarthy from the Speakership this week after he backed a bipartisan measure to keep the government open.

Gaetz for months has threatened to file a motion to vacate, which would essentially be a vote on ending McCarthy’s Speakership.

Only a few Republicans would have to vote with Gaetz to unseat McCarthy — if Democrats join the push.

The minority party would generally be expected to back such a motion, since Democrats would prefer one of their own — Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — as Speaker.

But so far, they’ve played their cards close to the vest. In a separate interview on CNN on Sunday, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t say how she’d vote and urged Democrats to follow the lead of Jeffries.

Gaetz has argued Democrats could “bail out,” the Speaker, and vowed to not back any deals with Democrats.

Meanwhile, Smith said Gaetz is “absolutely” going to reach out to Democrats to reach the 218 votes needed to pass.

“So basically, Gaetz is going to work with [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), [House Minority Leader] Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and the rest of the Democrats in order to remove the Republican Speaker,” Smith said. “And let me tell you, if you remove a Republican Speaker that then puts the Democrats empowered, these investigations will be done and stalled,” in reference to the House GOP’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden and his family’s foreign business dealings.

Smith further argued a motion to vacate from Gaetz would slow walk passing the individual spending bills, which conservative lawmakers were demanding instead of a short-term stopgap funding bill.

After exhausting options to pass a GOP-only stopgap plan, McCarthy rushed on Saturday to roll out a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) to the ire of hard-line House Republicans.  

The CR will fund the government at current spending levels through Nov. 17. The funding increases federal disaster assistance by $16 billion to meet the Biden administration’s previous request, but does not include any funding for Ukraine, a White House priority largely opposed by several GOP members. 

The CR also lacks spending cuts or border policy changes, dealing a blow to hardline conservatives who objected to any CR without such changes. 

Despite the continued pushback from some GOP members, the measure was cleared by the House in a largely bipartisan 335-91 vote on Saturday, with one Democrat and 90 Republicans voting in opposition. The bill then overwhelmingly passed in the Senate in an 88-9 vote, with nine Republicans opposing the bill.

Tags government shutdown Hakeem Jeffries Jason Smith Kevin McCarthy Matt Gaetz Nancy Pelosi stopgap bill stopgap funding bill