Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) biggest Republican critics, said his speakership is on "tenuous grounds" as Congress attempts to avoid a government shutdown while the speaker dared him to bring a motion to oust him to the floor.
Just hours before a shutdown is set to go into effect, the House introduced a plan for a 45-day clean continuing resolution on Saturday. In the days and weeks leading up to this weekend, Gaetz has threatened McCarthy with a vote to remove him while other hard-line conservatives have expressed they would support the motion.
Previously, Gaetz has said that if McCarthy were to put a clean continuing resolution on the floor, then he would automatically move to a motion to vacate.
"If Kevin McCarthy puts a [clean] continuing resolution on the floor, it's going to be shot, chaser. Continuing resolution, motion to vacate,” he told reporters earlier this month.
Now, with the House set to vote on the clean continuing resolution, Gaetz, who is one of McCarthy's biggest antagonists from within the party, told reporters on Saturday ahead of the vote that McCarthy's speakership is "on some tenuous ground."
But Gaetz was noncommittal about pushing for a motion to vacate.
"Right now, our plan is to continue to build support for our single-subject spending bills. This 45-day [continuing resolution] does not liberate us from our nation's financial challenges. We remain $33 trillion in debt. We're facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits. You know, right now, literally, our government is trying to figure out how much more we want to deficit spend so that we can send money to Ukraine, and that's crazy to me."
McCarthy seemingly dared the vocal minority to make the move, saying, "You know what, if somebody wants to remove because I want to be the adult in the room. Go ahead and try. But I think this country is too important. And I will stand with our military. I'll stand with our border agents."
While Gaetz's threat is real, it is still unknown what the exact plan is if he is successful. According to multiple GOP members, there is a handful of the conference who would never vote for anyone else besides McCarthy as Speaker.
The government will shut down on Oct. 1 should Congress not pass a continuing resolution. If that occurs, hundreds of thousands of federal workers would be furloughed or have to work without pay, while many federal agencies would shut down, with the exception of essential services for the federal government. Government employees still required to work would do so without pay until the government reopens.