May 29, 2023  |  
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Cami Mondeaux, Congressional Reporter

NextImg:Some Republicans say McCarthy's time as speaker may be on the chopping block

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could face a possible ouster from his top position just months into the new Congress after receiving blowback for reportedly blaming other members of his party for failing to release a budget proposal.

A New York Times article released earlier this week detailed private conversations between McCarthy and some of his allies that he did not have confidence in top GOP members to deliver a budget proposal. That report prompted criticism from several Republicans, who argued the comments undermine GOP influence and open the party up to accusations of infighting before a crucial election cycle.


McCarthy specifically hit out against House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX), telling his colleagues he did not have confidence they could finalize a budget proposal, according to the outlet. The House speaker also said he views Scalise as “ineffective” and unable to take hard positions.

Some Republican lawmakers accused McCarthy of using the pair as scapegoats to cover up his own failure to release a budget proposal, pointing to stalled negotiations between the House speaker and President Joe Biden over the debt ceiling.

“The agreements made by Speaker McCarthy, among other things, is to begin the ten-year balanced budget NOW and with his initiatives & directives,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said in a statement. “It’s HIS responsibility to get the 218 votes to ensure our nation’s financial security JUST AS HE DID IN SECURING THE 218 votes for speaker.”

McCarthy rejected that there was infighting among top GOP leaders, but he stopped short of denying that the conversations took place. Arrington and Scalise declined to criticize McCarthy over the purported statements, instead pointing to their efforts to finalize their budget proposal.

“Our nation is staring down the barrel of a debt crisis, and my budget committee colleagues and I are focused on one thing: passing a budget that will stop this reckless spending and restore fiscal sanity in Washington before it’s too late,” the pair said in a statement to Axios. 

It’s not clear whether other GOP members will drop the incident, setting the stage for a possible vote to remove McCarthy as speaker just three months into his tenure. As part of his negotiations to secure the speakership, McCarthy vowed to lower the threshold for a motion to vacate to just one member.


House Republicans told Axios they aren’t ready to act on such threats, but the report has renewed conversations.

“The members I've spoken with are just stunned by his rebuking of his budget chair, and certainly of our leadership,” one House Republican told the outlet. “I can't imagine [he will last an entire term].”

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