Kevin McCarthy

Speaker Kevin McCarthy

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suffered yet another loss on Thursday, one that no speaker should ever experience. Five of his Republican colleagues rebelled against sending the defense appropriations bill to the floor, and blocked it. Again. These things aren’t supposed to happen in the House. Speakers don’t put a bill on the floor when they don’t have the votes locked up. A controlling bloc of the majority doesn’t vote against leadership. Republicans don’t vote against defense spending.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is right: As speaker, she didn’t lose any rule votes—the procedural vote that kicks off consideration of a bill—because she didn’t put them on the floor without knowing she had the votes locked up. In fact, until McCarthy, it had been more than two decades since a rule vote failed on the floor. McCarthy has managed to do it three times in four months, and twice just this week.

Last week, McCarthy intended to put both the defense appropriations bill and a stopgap government funding bill on the floor in tandem. That quickly fell apart when the extremists in his raucous caucus made it clear they wouldn’t sign on, and he was forced to pull both from the floor—the smart thing to do.

The not-smart thing to do was to come back this week and try to put defense appropriations back on the floor without having worked out a plan with his hard-liners on government funding—or anything else. Which is exactly what McCarthy did Tuesday. He lost when GOP Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Ken Buck of Colorado, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Matt Rosendale of Montana all voted no.

The really not-smart thing to do was to try it again just two days later. This time around, it was Biggs, Bishop, and Rosendale again, joined by Reps. Eli Crane of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (so much for her being McCarthy’s ally). Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, chairman of the Rules Committee, also voted no in a process move so that he can bring the bill to the floor in the future.

Greene drew a new line in the sand on the bill: All funding in it that might go to Ukraine has to be split out. Now, if McCarthy wants to get Greene back on board, leadership has to go back to the Rules Committee and rewrite it, stripping out anything to do with Ukraine aid. Even doing that is no guarantee that McCarthy can get everyone else on board—or even get enough votes to let the defense bill pass.

Again, this is defense spending. Republicans are hating on the troops. This is the House McCarthy built. House Republicans can’t even fund the military.

At this point, the hard-liners are toying with McCarthy just because they can. Unless he gets wise—and soon—a government shutdown is inevitable. It’s all they will allow. McCarthy’s only option to stop them is to work with Democrats.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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Kevin McCarthy

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s frustration with his own House Republicans continues to grow as he dared them to oust him during a closed door meeting of the GOP Conference on Thursday morning.

The Speaker “dared members from his own party who have been threatening to oust him to bring a motion to vacate to the House floor,” The Messenger reports.

McCarthy “said he’s not scared of the motion, which — if approved — would vacate him from the No. 1 leadership post,” The Messenger adds, citing a source in the room.

“Move the f—ing motion,” he dared them.

That meeting was supposed to be focused on investigations but reportedly also included heated conversations on the rapidly approaching September 30 deadline to fund the government and avoid an October 1 shutdown.

Punchbowl News cofounder Jake Sherman reports he asked the speaker “what was going on” with “this funding mess,” as McCarthy was headed in to the meeting.

“Yeah, I don’t understand how members, they have no complaint about the [Department of Defense] bill. But they don’t want to pass it,” McCarthy told Sherman.

“I got a small group of members who don’t want to vote for [a continuing resolution], don’t want to vote for individual bills and don’t want to vote for an omni,” he added, referring to a massive all-encompassing “omnibus” bill.

“I’m not quite sure what they want,” McCarthy said.

Minutes later Sherman reported: “House Republicans are meeting behind closed doors. The stated topic is investigations. But [McCarthy’s] now talking about funding. 'We don’t win shutdowns,' he’s telling his colleagues 16 days from funding expiring.”

McCarthy appeared to mock Democrats by telling his fellow House Republicans, while using his speech, to also attack his fellow Republicans, which Sherman called McCarthy’s “’where we are’ pitch.”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm “can’t charge her car,” McCarthy told his members, referring to reports of a hardware problem on an electric Cadillac that caused problems on a trip earlier this summer.

Sherman, paraphrasing McCarthy, reports he said: “Two ‘liberal newspapers’ say Biden shouldn’t run again. Pelosi getting asked about whether Biden and Harris should run again. ‘And we can’t pass our DOD bill?'” McCarthy said. If we get in a shutdown, McCarthy said, how do we get out of it. Biden, [McCarthy] said, would have articles written making him look like the adult in the room.”

McCarthy appeared to continue to blast Republicans.

Sherman reports McCarthy told his members, “If you think we have more leverage in a shutdown, I don’t think that. You give all the power to the administration. If you have an honor flight coming in, they’ll put bike racks around the monuments so they can’t see them. ‘Our power is if we pass appropriations bills and make Democrats defend their votes.'”

He also “effectively said he’s not afraid of a motion to vacate. He said any speaker would do roughly what he’s doing.”

The motion to vacate is part of the concession package McCarthy reportedly agreed to that allowed him enough votes to win the gavel in January after a contentious battle and 15 attempts.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.