Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Monday night filed a resolution to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) after questioning if the House GOP leader cut a secret deal with the White House on Ukraine aid.
A motion to vacate the speakership is considered a privileged resolution, giving it priority over other issues. McCarthy has two legislative days to schedule the resolution for a vote, although there are procedural mechanisms the speaker and his supporters could delay the vote or even potentially block it.
A resolution to oust McCarthy would require a simple majority. Since a handful of House Republicans have signaled that they would vote yes on the motion, McCarthy may need support from Democrats to maintain his speakership. No House Speaker has ever been removed through a motion to vacate.
Gaetz’s decision to take a step toward ousting McCarthy came after the House passed a stopgap funding bill over the weekend that was supported by Democrats. The bill did not include the $24 billion in Ukraine aid that President Biden wanted, but he signed it into law anyway.
“What was the secret side deal on Ukraine?” Gaetz said on the House floor a few hours before filing the motion to vacate. McCarthy has denied he made a side deal, but President Biden said Sunday that he expects “the Speaker to keep his word and secure the passage of support for Ukraine at this critical moment.”