Representative Mike Lawler (R-NY) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) push to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is delusional.
Partial transcript as follows:
JON KARL: I know you’ve been very much a defender of Kevin McCarthy throughout all of this. You supported the bill. What’s your reaction to Matt Gaetz said? He’s going to come out next week and try to remove him as speaker.
LAWLER: Well, I think what I just heard was a diatribe of delusional thinking. Look, we’re in a divided government, and in a divided government, any final bill is going to have bipartisan support. It needs to pass the Senate, and it needs to be signed by the president. Nobody in our conference disagrees with the need to do single-subject spending bills. Nobody disagrees with the need to cut spending. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons why I ran.
Joe Biden and his administration increased spending by over $5 trillion in just two years. And as Matt pointed out, our national debt is $33 trillion. It’s unsustainable. But when you’re trying to break the system, when you’re trying to reform it, it takes time. We have been doing the work over the last few months, going line by line, budget bill by budget bill, finding ways to cut spending, and reform the system. But we were not able to complete that work by September 30th, which was the end of the fiscal year.
And so, to shut down the government would inflict pain on the American people, and it would hurt an already fragile economy because Bidenomics has failed.
KARL: And it’s —
LAWLER: The only responsible thing to do was to keep the government open and funded while we complete our work.
And I agree with Matt. We need to finish all 12 appropriations bills. The Senate has not passed one single bill.
But, by putting this motion to vacate on the floor, you know what Matt Gaetz is going to do? He’s going to delay the ability to complete that work over the next 45 days. And, just like he and some of my colleagues did during the past three weeks, they delayed the process by voting down the rules, violating our conference rules. They delayed the process by refusing to come to an agreement within the conference —
KARL: And —
LAWLER: — on a conservative CR that would have cut spending by 8 percent and enacted border security. They are the reason that we had to work together yesterday with House Democrats to pass a CR. That is not the fault of Kevin McCarthy, that’s the fault of Matt Gaetz.
KARL: And it’s just a — I think it’s important to point out that you talk about the debt, which obviously is a huge problem. $7.8 trillion of that debt was added under the presidency of Donald Trump.
But what is going to happen? What do you anticipate? I mean will — we saw 90 Republicans vote against this – this bill to keep the government running, even though McCarthy talked about it as essential, that’s clearly – it was a – was a — to a degree a vote of lack of confidence in McCarthy’s leadership. Do you Republicans will join — how many Republicans will join Gates in – in that motion to vacate?
LAWLER: No, I don’t think that was a lack of confidence in the speaker’s leadership. We have a lot of people in our conference who have never voted for a CR. That’s their prerogative. That’s their right as elected representatives of their districts.
But we have to work together as a team. We have 221 Republicans. We need 218 votes to pass legislation through the House floor. Putting a motion to vacate forward, in defiance of conference rules which requires a majority of the majority. So, you know, I hear Matt constantly talking about the need to follow regular order, follow conference rules. Kevin McCarthy lied. He violated this. He violated that.
Matt Gaetz voted against the choice for speaker of the conference. He voted to take down rules. And now he’s putting a motion to vacate on the floor in defiance of conference rules which requires a majority of the majority. So, you know, this is a guy who says one thing out of one side of his mouth and speaks another thing out of the other side.
LAWLER: He’s mealymouthed and, you know, frankly duplicitous.
KARL: What’s your message to Hakeem Jeffries and your Democratic colleagues on this because if they vote with Matt Gaetz, and Gaetz only needs to have a handful of Republicans and he can remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy. So what — what’s your message to Democrats about whether or not to go along with that?
LAWLER: Look, ultimately Democrats are going to the make a decision for themselves. I think it is destructive to the country to put forth this motion to vacate. We have a lot of work to do. The American people elected a House Republican majority to serve as a check and balance on the Biden agenda and the administration’s reckless spending. The only way to do that is to complete our appropriations work. We have 45 days to do it. Senate Democrats have not passed one single appropriations bill through the Senate floor. We are dealing with a crisis at our southern border, and it is impacting my home state of New York, like it has southern border states. We need to get border security.
Chuck Schumer has done absolutely nothing when it comes to dealing with the crisis at our border. House Republicans have passed HR-2. We need to use the appropriations process as the vehicle to get border security for the American people, crack down on this massive influx of migrants coming into our country, and reform our immigration system long term.
But this will all be torpedoed by one person who wants to put a motion to vacate for personal, political reasons, and undermine the will of the conference and the American people, who elected a Republican majority to govern.
KARL: And one of the reasons why the Senate has not passed any of those appropriations bills is because there have been Republicans that have prevented the – the vote from going forward.
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