Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is offering Democrats subpoena power in exchange for their help in ousting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Politico reported Friday.
“He’s been talking to everybody about [ousting McCarthy],” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Politico. “I told him in our caucus, in the Progressive Caucus, we’re not planning to save McCarthy — for a whole host of reasons.”
WATCH — McCarthy to Rep. Gaetz: “Bring It On,” I’ll Survive as Speaker:
Gaetz denied talking to Democrats about such an effort, insisting he was working to kill the short-term spending bill McCarthy successfully ushered to passage Saturday.
But Gaetz has gone even further, promising Democrats subpoena power on the House Oversight Committee in the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden in exchange for working with him to boot McCarthy, the New York Post reported.
According to the Post, Gaetz’s “backroom proposal would potentially allow Democrats on the GOP-led panel to select which witnesses receive subpoenas in the investigation into the 80-year-old president’s involvement in his family’s overseas business dealings, and allow them to nix the subpoenas from Republican members — which could derail the probe.”
WATCH — Matt Gaetz: I Will Move to Oust McCarthy as Speaker:
It is uncertain what authority Gaetz possesses to offer the Democrats such concessions, and a spokesman for Gaetz denied the allegations.
Gaetz has been a longtime foe to McCarthy. In the January speaker’s race, Gaetz refused to support McCarthy on the 14th ballot, voting “present” to deny McCarthy when he and his allies believed they had enough votes to secure his speakership.
McCarthy secured the speakership on the 15th ballot after Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) appeared to lunge at Gaetz before being corralled by a colleague.
WATCH — Rep. Mike Rogers Held Back from Confronting Matt Gaetz:C-SPAN
Gaetz has long threatened to topple McCarthy if he worked with Democrats to pass a spending bill extending current levels without spending cuts and other conservative priorities. He told CNN’s State of the Union anchor Jake Tapper on Sunday that he would introduction a motion to vacate the chair “this week.”
Tapper told Gaetz that he had seen personal communications where Gaetz blamed McCarty for his ethics investigation.
Tapper said, “There are a lot of House Republicans that think that there is this personal animus between you and Speaker McCarthy. I have to ask you, how much do you blame Speaker McCarthy for the fact that you are under investigation by the House Ethics Committee? How much is that part of what’s going on here?”
Gaetz denied his motivations were personal before attacking McCarthy for “gaslighting the Ethics Committee.”
WATCH — Tapper to Gaetz: “I Have Seen Personal Communications” of You Blaming McCarthy for Your Ethics Investigation:
It is clear that Gaetz would need significant help from Democrats for his motion to vacate the chair to be successful. There have been few Republicans publicly suggesting they might back Gaetz, whose motion would need 218 votes.
When asked how many Republicans would join him, Gaetz replied, “Enough so that when you host this show next week, if Kevin McCarthy is still speaker of the house, he will be serving at the pleasure of the Democrats… The only way Kevin McCarthy is speaker at the end of this coming week is if Democrats bail him out.”
Tapper insisted that in order to receive backing from Democrats, Gaetz also would have to seek a deal with Democrats. “I will make no deal with Democrats and conceded no terms to them. I think Democrats should vote against Speaker McCarthy for free.
House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA) made it clear in September that Democrats would seek concessions from McCarthy to oppose the Gaetz motion, essentially threatening to side with Gaetz to oust McCarthy if Democrats’ demands were not met.
“We want him to live up to the agreement [on toppling spending] that he made [with President Biden]. We want to get disaster aid out. We want to continue our support for Ukraine. And we want them to end this sham of an impeachment inquiry,” Clark said.
Gaetz told Tapper, “I don’t think any Republicans who share my view on speaker McCarthy would cut deals with Democrats. But here’s the thing: I’m done owning Kevin McCarthy. We made a deal in January to allow him to assume the speakership, and I’m not owning him anymore, because he doesn’t tell the truth.”
“So if Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy by bailing him out, I can’t stop them. But then he’ll be their speaker, not mine,” Gaetz concluded.
Follow Bradley Jaye on Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.