Kevin McCarthy’s Next Task: ‘Relationship Repair’

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, May 25, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had a couple words this week for insurgent members considering ousting him over his debt limit deal with President Joe Biden: “Bring it.”

It’s not clear they will: One member of the House Freedom Caucus told The Dispatch the group will probably discuss internally next week whether to file a motion to vacate the chair—a tool to force a vote on removing McCarthy as speaker. But only a couple members of the group have indicated they might support a move against McCarthy, and others have openly opposed the idea (and some Democrats might be even willing to help McCarthy remain in power). 

What is clear, though, is that this week’s debt ceiling deal breached trust between McCarthy and his right flank. A swath of Republicans slammed the bill, which suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025, for not cutting enough spending. The California Republican will have to win back support from his members in the coming weeks if he wants to smooth tensions within the conference. 

“I’m not going to lie, we have some relationship repair that needs to happen,” close McCarthy ally Rep. Garret Graves acknowledged in remarks to reporters this week.

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