House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized Republican representatives for their perceived descent into “disarray, dysfunction, and extreme views” on Tuesday. Furthermore, his caucus intimated they might not back Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in an impending vote to unseat him.
Jeffries commented, “The Republican-led House appears to be giving undue influence to far-right voices, bending to their stringent demands and pushing a strict partisan agenda.”
McCarthy’s position has become increasingly tenuous after ongoing clashes with staunch conservatives in his party, notably with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) — who initiated a move to displace him from the Speakership on Monday.
Gaetz’s move came after prolonged tensions with McCarthy over federal funding discussions. Gaetz pressured McCarthy to enact spending legislation with notable reductions, but McCarthy decided to prolong the federal budget through a last-minute cross-party agreement, averting a government closure.
Some political pundits speculated that Democrats might rally behind McCarthy to shield him from a rebellion within his ranks. However, Jeffries clarified on Tuesday that Democrats have no intention of coming to the Speaker’s rescue.
“While House Democrats remain open to constructive collaboration, it seems our Republican counterparts are not as receptive,” he noted. “It’s up to the GOP members to resolve the internal strife in the House Republican camp.”
Jeffries emphasized, “Given their reluctance to genuinely distance themselves from extreme MAGA ideologies, the House Democratic leadership will support the ongoing Republican initiative to replace the Chair.”
Jeffries also highlighted McCarthy’s reluctance to collaborate with Democrats upon his appointment as Speaker earlier this year. This tense procedure required four days and 15 rounds of voting, leading to House regulations that appeased staunch GOP members.
Furthermore, Jeffries reprimanded Republicans for reneging on a prior cross-party agreement concerning the debt ceiling. Despite an initial agreement between McCarthy, congressional Democrats, and the Biden administration for moderate federal budget reductions, McCarthy later pressed for deeper cuts.
Jeffries lamented, “Instead of applauding this significant bipartisan milestone, extreme MAGA factions within the GOP quickly opposed it. House Republicans reversed their agreement with President Biden mere days after its approval, propelling us into this current tumult.”
He also rebuked the House GOP’s “unfounded” impeachment investigation into President Biden, labeling it a “misuse of time and public funds.”
McCarthy endorsed the investigation after urging from a subset of conservative GOP House representatives, including Gaetz. These Republicans allege that Biden misused his authority to favor his son’s business engagements in Ukraine, though this has yet to be substantiated.
A vote is set for Tuesday on McCarthy’s potential removal. For the motion to succeed, Gaetz requires the support of five additional members to dethrone McCarthy.