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Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) threatened on May 30 to seek an end to Kevin McCarthy’s tenure as speaker of the House were he to go through with his debt ceiling agreement with President Joe Biden.
Bishop is the first one to make this threat.
It only takes one member of Congress to file a motion to vacate the chair, forcing a vote on whether to strip McCarthy of the gavel. This rule was one of the concessions McCarthy made in January in order to win the speaker’s race after 15 rounds of voting.
“It is inescapable to me. I think it’s got to be done,” Bishop told journalists after a press conference where he and some of his fellow members of the hardline Freedom Caucus railed against the deal, which was reached over the weekend.
Bishop, however, did not say whether he would actually file a motion to vacate the chair and said he would not do such a thing by himself.
“I don’t make single decisions like that alone,” he said. “And so it depends on what the members who have courage [do].”
When asked by The Epoch Times for his reaction to Bishop’s threat, McCarthy seemed unfazed.
“Everybody has a right to do whatever they want,” he said.
During the press conference, in response to a question from The Epoch Times, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, would not say whether he would file a motion to vacate the chair.
“For me, I’m focused on defeating this bill,” he said.
The deal has come under fire from both conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats.
Freedom Caucus members blasted the deal as not sufficiently cutting spending in addition to levying other criticisms.
Some Freedom Caucus members slammed the deal as largely leaving Biden’s agenda—from the IRS to green energy subsidies—in place. Perry warned that the debt could increase by at least $4 trillion.
The debt ceiling deal runs through Jan. 5, 2025, just 15 days before the inauguration of a new president or the second inauguration of Biden were he to win reelection. That date, though, is two days after the 119th Congress begins.
Progressives, meanwhile, have expressed concerns with the welfare reforms in the deal that increase work requirements. The work requirements for SNAP would apply to those up to the age of 54, up from the current age limit of 49. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has yet to formally say whether it supports or opposes the debt ceiling agreement.
“Based on what we know, and with very little time before an expected vote, I have serious concerns that reflect the concerns of my district,” said Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.) in a statement before the release of the debt limit bill. “The inclusion of work requirements for SNAP and TANF is not going to make a transformative difference in our debt but will forever change the lives of many American families who are already struggling.”
The House is scheduled to take up the debt ceiling bill on the evening of May 31. If it passes, it will go to the Senate before going to Biden’s desk for his signature.