GOP Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee said Tuesday that despite being a friend of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, he will follow his conscience and vote to remove McCarthy from that position.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida rose on the House floor Tuesday calling for the speaker’s removal after McCarthy worked with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution that kept the federal government open for 45 days.
In McCarthy’s defense, a majority of the Republican caucus, 126 members, voted for the legislation on Saturday, though 90 did not. All but one Democrat voted for the measure.
McCarthy’s leadership would have been much more in question if he had passed the continuing resolution with a minority of Republican support and a majority of Democratic backing.
Nonetheless, Gaetz and at least five other members have decided this was the last straw and it’s time for McCarthy to go.
Some of the other representatives who are open to removing McCarthy are Lauren Boebert of Colorado, John Brecheen of Oklahoma, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Victoria Spartz of Indiana and Wesley Hunt of Texas, the outlet said.
Eleven Republicans voted against tabling the motion to vacate the speaker’s chair, meaning the vote on whether to remove McCarthy will go forward.
🚨BREAKING: Final Vote on tabling the Motion to Vacate FAILS 208-218
Speaker McCarthy will face a Motion to Vacate.
11 Republicans who voted NO:
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 3, 2023
With the current makeup of the House, depending on who’s present to vote, McCarthy can lose only four GOP representatives and still retain the speakership.
Six, including Gaetz, are already a solid “no” on McCarthy staying, so the speaker will need to pick up a few Democratic votes if he is to stay on.
Burchett, unlike Gaetz, voted for McCarthy to become speaker in January but nonetheless feels it’s time for him to go.
Burchett explained his change of heart in a video posted to social media Tuesday morning.
“My thought process is like this: Kevin McCarthy is my friend, and I hate to lose him as a friend, but I had a choice between that and my conscience and what my conscience tells me to do,” the congressman said.
“My conscience tells me that we’re $33 trillion in debt,” Burchett continued. “We took off the whole month of August knowing that September was going to come around. It does every year, the end of our budgetary year, fiscal year, and there’s no urgency.”
My decision on Motion to Vacate and how I came to it. pic.twitter.com/kePHTSHUlw
— Tim Burchett (@timburchett) October 3, 2023
Burchett, who was first elected to office in 2018, noted that despite the Republicans being in charge of funding the government, they are doing it by a continuing resolution instead of through the regular budgetary process, with separate appropriations bills, as McCarthy had pledged to do.
The Tennessee Republican predicted when this CR runs out close to Thanksgiving, an omnibus bill will follow to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year, if the 2024 spending is like 2023.
“We’ll put in an omnibus, which is a big bill. More spending, more grease, more lobbyists and more special interests, and the big boys will stay in power,” he said.
“At some point, we’ve just got to say, ‘Enough is enough, folks.’ I hate losing Kevin as a friend, but I worry about losing our country, in all sincerity. We are rapidly approaching that point,” Burchett added.
He concluded that “come hell or high water” he’ll vote to remove McCarthy as speaker.
Burchett’s decision is a big deal.
Gaetz, Biggs, Rosendale, Good and Crane did not support McCarthy for speaker from the start.
My statement on my intention to vote for the motion to vacate. pic.twitter.com/4vrlp2XUra
— Rep. Tim Burchett (@RepTimBurchett) October 3, 2023
McCarthy defended his backing of a “clean” continuing resolution that kept the government open.
“I made a decision to take a risk to keep the government open,” he said on CNBC.
I kept government open so the families of our troops and border agents could get paid.
If a handful of Republicans side with Democrats to remove me for that—it’s a fight worth having. pic.twitter.com/BBz8yuC0ez
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) October 3, 2023
If he loses the speakership because of it, that’s something he appears ready to accept.
“Let the chips fall where they may,” McCarthy said.
So far, it seems as though enough chips will fall against him that he’ll lose the speakership.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.