Democrats say they won’t save McCarthy Speakership

House Democrats on Tuesday said they do not plan to save Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) when a vote on ousting him from the top spot hits the floor later in the day.

Emerging from a more than two-hour meeting in the Capitol, House Democrats said they will vote to oust McCarthy from the Speakership.

“We are following our leader and we are not saving Kevin McCarthy,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters.

Asked if a decision was made as a caucus not to support McCarthy, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) responded, “yes.”

The news comes hours before the House is set to vote on an effort to oust McCarthy as Speaker after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) set the process in motion Monday night. There will likely be a procedural vote to table the resolution to oust McCarthy or refer it to committee before the chamber weighs in on whether or not to boot the Speaker.

In the narrow House GOP majority, just a handful of Republican votes opposing McCarthy could put his fate in Democratic hands. Thus far, four GOP members have said they would join Gaetz in voting to oust the Speaker.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — who was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year in a McCarthy-led effort — said she will vote against tabling the resolution if it is brought up for a vote and, subsequently, will vote to oust McCarthy.

“I cannot imagine a single Democrat that would be interested in keeping McCarthy as Speaker,” she said.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who McCarthy blocked from the House Intelligence Committee in January, said he will also vote to oust the Speaker.

“I know I’m gonna vote against him,” Schiff told reporters.

“This is someone who voted to overturn the election. This is someone who reneged on the budget deal with the President. This is someone who betrays his word on pretty much a daily basis. That’s not someone we have to trust to run one of the most important institutions in the country,” he added.

More notably, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), a moderate who sometimes votes with Republicans, said he would vote to oust McCarthy.

“The GOP has control of the House and it is their responsibility to pick their leaders. That decision has nothing to do with me or with any Democrat,” Golden said in a statement. “But in the interest of answering inquiries to my office about whether or not I would support Kevin McCarthy: he’s not the leader I would choose – he doesn’t have the pulse of the people of Maine’s Second District. Absent any significantly meaningful benefit for Maine’s Second District, I see no reason to vote for him.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-Calif.) was coy when emerging from the private meeting, declining to say how he will vote on the effort to oust McCarthy.

“House Democrats are going to continue to put people over politics and to fight to make life better for everyday Americans,” Jeffries said. “From the very beginning that has been our objective and it will continue to be our sole focus, delivering for the American people.”

“We encourage our Republican colleagues who claim to be more traditional to break from the extremists,” he continued. “In the chaos, in the dysfunction, in the extremism, we are ready, willing and able to work together with our Republican colleagues, but it is on them to join us to move the Congress and the country forward.”

In a post on X shortly after, he said suggested that it will be on Republicans to find their way out of the current Speaker showdown.

“House Democrats will continue to put people over politics. We are ready to find bipartisan common ground. Our extreme colleagues have shown no willingness to do the same. They must find a way to end the House Republican Civil War,” he wrote.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said it was clear in the closed-door meeting that members do not think McCarthy can be trusted.

“It was pretty evidence that the Democratic caucus does not feel that Kevin McCarthy is a leader who can be trusted,” he told reporters.

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