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McCarthy’s speakership threatened in part by defense bill

October 3, 2023

Bryant Harris

Defense News

Then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Claif., attends at a news conference with fellow House Republicans at the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


By Bryant Harris, Defense News / October 3, 2023

As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., fights to hold onto his position this week, Democrats have made clear he can’t count on their support, partly because of lingering resentment over the annual defense policy bill.

A 216-210 vote on Tuesday ousted McCarthy as speaker after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., followed through on threats to remove him from power. Gaetz filed the motion to remove McCarthy after the Republican leader worked with Democrats at the last minute this weekend to pass a short-term funding bill needed to avoid a government shutdown.

The brief bipartisan moment did little to endear McCarthy to Democrats, and the speaker did not offer them any concessions to win their votes despite his slim majority. Democrats subsequently voted with Gaetz and a small group of conservative Republicans, teeing up what could be another prolonged speakership battle for McCarthy in less than a year.

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