Bitter power struggle among the US Republicans: Hardliner Matt Gaetz has filed a motion to dismiss the Republican leader of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.
The Florida representative made a motion on Monday to declare the position of chairman of the House of Representatives "vacant". In doing so, Gaetz is once again fueling a dispute that has been simmering within the party between traditional conservative Republicans and the right-wing supporters of former President Donald Trump.
McCarthy "no longer has my support, and he doesn't have the support of a requisite number of Republicans to (...) move forward," Gaetz later told reporters. McCarthy immediately responded to the news on the online service X, formerly known as Twitter. “Bring it on,” the Californian wrote – in German it means “Let’s go” or “Go ahead.”
McCarthy had previously agreed with House Democrats on a compromise to fund federal agencies through November 17, failing to implement the spending cuts demanded by right-wing hardliners. Gaetz and a group of like-minded people fueled the budget crisis.
They are pushing for massive spending cuts and would have accepted the shutdown. They also oppose further support for Ukraine - they say the money would be better spent fighting illegal migration.
McCarthy's position of power among Republican representatives has been shaky since his election at the beginning of the year. Despite a Republican majority in the House of Representatives achieved in the midterm elections in November 2022, the Californian was only elected chairman of the Congressional Chamber in the 15th attempt after a historic four-day voting marathon.
In return, he had to make concessions to Trump supporters, including the possibility of removing him as chairman of the House of Representatives by a vote.
Gaetz is now making use of this regulation. However, Gaetz rejects a personal vendetta against McCarthy. “It has nothing to do with a personality,” said Gaetz.
In the USA there have been repeated budget freezes in recent decades. The last occurred in December 2018 and January 2019 under then-President Donald Trump - and was the longest in US history at 35 days. The background at the time was the dispute over Trump's desire to build a border wall with Mexico.