Frequent combatants House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., squared off again Thursday in another “testy” exchange behind closed doors with the country just two days away from a government shutdown, CNN reported.
The issue this time, however, did not center on bringing the Republican caucus together in time to avert a shutdown, but was about whether McCarthy and his allies were the source of a social media campaign to badmouth Gaetz.
McCarthy told Gaetz he wouldn’t waste his time on him, something Gaetz himself confirmed later to CNN.
“I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online,” Gaetz told CNN.
Outside counsel for McCarthy reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to the antagonist, who purportedly was doing so on McCarthy’s behalf.
Gaetz and McCarthy have gone toe-to-toe before, both behind closed doors and on the floor of the House, most famously on the fourth day of voting for speaker of the House in January.
Further, Gaetz has repeatedly hung a motion to vacate over McCarthy’s head, including earlier this week on the House floor.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are no closer to passing the 12 spending bills needed to keep the government open and hardliners, led by Gaetz, will not agree to stopgap bills, even if they include border provisions, which would be dead on arrival in the Senate regardless.
The Senate unveiled a bipartisan stopgap bill but even that is poisoned with $6 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has vowed to slow-walk that bill over the Ukraine piece, and McCarthy reportedly has vowed not to bring it up for a vote in the House even if it makes it that far.
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has thrown his support behind the Senate’s bipartisan bill, putting the spotlight back on McCarthy and House Republicans.
“Government shutdowns are bad news,” McConnell said earlier this week.
Mark Swanson ✉
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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