House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed his frustration with members of his Republican conference after a stopgap spending bill received Democratic support and passed in the House. The bill, which passed with a vote of 335-91, had the support of 209 Democrats and 126 Republicans, while one Democrat and 90 Republicans voted against it.
McCarthy vented his frustration publicly after the vote, stating, “You can always count on Americans to do what’s right after they’ve exhausted every other option.” He also criticized members of his conference who refused to vote for appropriations bills or support a stopgap measure, leading to a potential government shutdown and withholding pay from troops. McCarthy made it clear that he did not want to be a part of a team that puts the country and its defense at risk.
Despite facing resistance within his own party, McCarthy had tried to listen to all the differing opinions within the Republican conference leading up to the vote. He stated, “I tried every possible way, listening to every single person in the caucus. It was tough, but we got it through.” McCarthy expressed disappointment that some members of his conference opposed the stopgap bill, which aimed to secure the border, cut wasteful spending, and provide aid to Ukraine.
McCarthy emphasized his desire to be part of a conservative group that gets things done, but his actions were met with criticism from Republican Representative Matt Gaetz. Gaetz had previously threatened to initiate a process to have McCarthy removed as Speaker if he bypassed conservatives and sought support from Democrats. McCarthy responded by challenging Gaetz and stating, “If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it. There has to be an adult in the room.”
While Gaetz suggested that McCarthy’s speakership was on shaky ground, not everyone in the party was abandoning him. Republican Representative Mike Lawler praised McCarthy’s leadership, stating, “I think Kevin McCarthy has done a phenomenal job as speaker. I think he’s been continually underestimated. And here again today, you saw him lead.”
The passage of the stopgap bill had implications for the House schedule, as it was expected to pass in the Senate. As a result, the House canceled its planned two-week break in October and scheduled votes on October 2-5 and October 10-13.
Overall, McCarthy’s frustration with members of his party highlights the challenges and divisions within the Republican conference. While some members supported the stopgap spending bill, others opposed it, creating tension and raising questions about party unity. Despite facing criticism, McCarthy remained determined to be part of a conservative group that prioritizes getting things done for the American people.