McCarthy tells Republicans threatening to oust him to 'bring it' after House passes stopgap spending bill with mostly Democratic votes

Kevin McCarthy
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, center, is flanked by Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, left, and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York after the House approved a 45-day funding bill to keep federal agencies open.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
  • Kevin McCarthy on Saturday forcefully defended House passage of a 45-day stopgap spending bill.

  • The bill, if passed by the Senate, will fund the government through November and avert a shutdown.

  • McCarthy dared his detractors to force a "motion to vacate" — a vote that could end his speakership.

A defiant Kevin McCarthy on Saturday told House Republican critics calling for his ouster as speaker to "bring it" after the lower chamber passed a 45-day stopgap spending measure with mostly Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown.

McCarthy, who has been on thin ice with the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus even before he became speaker in January, said that "there has to be an adult in the room" as he spoke after passage of the bill.

The stopgap measure, which will avert a shutdown and fund the government through November should the Senate pass the bill by the end of the day, passed overwhelmingly, in a 335-91 vote. But the bill was backed by 209 Democrats and 126 Republicans, with 90 Republicans voting against the measure (only one Democrat voted against the bill).

Funding for additional Ukraine aid and border security provisions were not included in the stopgap bill — which frustrated many Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

But with Democrats comprising of a majority of support for the "clean" measure in the GOP-led House, conservatives already frustrated with McCarthy appear closer than ever in seeking to challenge his leadership.

Republicans have a razor-thin 221-212 majority, a dynamic which has given outsized power to conservatives in shaping how the House has been run this year. But many of them remain dissatisfied with McCarthy.

For weeks, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has spoken of his desire to push McCarthy on more conservative demands and has dangled the threat of introducing a "motion to vacate" — which would put the speakership of the California Republican up for a vote.

McCarthy on Saturday was undeterred by any threats, though.

"If someone wants to make a motion against me, bring it," the speaker said during an afternoon news conference.

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