Ocasio-Cortez says she’d ‘absolutely’ vote for motion to get rid of McCarthy as Speaker

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Sunday she “absolutely” would vote for a motion to vacate, which would oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his post.

At the same time, the progressive lawmaker left the door open to negotiations if McCarthy came to Democrats for help.  

“Well, my vote at the beginning of this term for Speaker of the House was for [House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)], and I do not intend on voting for a Republican Speaker of the House,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“But I believe that it’s up to the Republican conference to determine their own leadership and deal with their own problems. But it’s not up to Democrats to save Republicans, from themselves especially.”

She suggested that Democrats might be willing to negotiate with McCarthy if he was in danger of losing his post as Speaker, but that “I don’t think we give up votes for free.”

“I certainly don’t think that we would expect to see that unless there’s a real conversation between the Republican and Democratic caucuses and Republican Democratic leadership about what that would mean, but I don’t think we give up votes for free,” she said.

The minority party in the House would typically back a motion to vacate, since the minority party would want to see one of its own members as Speaker.

McCarthy can only afford a handful of GOP “no” votes if Democrats back a motion to vacate.

McCarthy got through a last-minute continuing resolution (CR) that staved off a government shutdown Saturday, but he relied on Democratic votes to do it. Only one Democrat in the House voted against the measure McCarthy brought to the floor, while 90 GOP members of his conference voted against it.

That’s given an opening to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and other opponents who say McCarthy shouldn’t bring legislation to the floor and pass it with Democratic votes.

Ocasio-Cortez said she’d have no problem backing a motion to vacate.

“Would I cast that vote? Absolutely. Absolutely,” she said.

“I think Kevin McCarthy is a very weak Speaker. He clearly has lost control of his caucus. He has brought the United States and millions of Americans to the brink waiting until the final hour to keep the government open and even then only issuing a 45-day extension. So we’re going to be right back in this place in November,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

“Our main priority has to be the American people and what’s going to keep our governance in a cohesive and strong place, but unless Kevin McCarthy asks for a vote again, I don’t think we give something away for free,” she continued.

On a potential power-sharing agreement between parties in exchange for Democrats’ support to save his Speakership, the New York Democrat said, “When it comes to power sharing, we will discuss that as a caucus and what we would finally accept or not, but again, it’s going to, it comes at a price. You don’t just vote for a Republican Speaker for nothing. That’s not what we were elected here to do.”

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Kevin McCarthy motion to vacate