After days of turmoil, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy abruptly abandoned demands for steep spending cuts from his party’s hard-right flank and joined with Democrats to pass the bill, which funds government until November 17. The package was approved by the House 335-91, with most Republicans and almost all Democrats supporting. Senate passage came by an 88-9 vote.
Among the Republican holdouts was Gaetz, an ally of former President Donald Trump. The Florida Republican rallied GOP lawmakers to resist McCarthy’s bid to become speaker in January and had threatened to call a vote to oust the speaker if he failed to meet their demands.
McCarthy is “on some tenuous ground,” Gaetz told reporters on Saturday, but he has not announced a motion to oust the speaker.
“If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it” McCarthy has said. “There has to be an adult in the room.”
After the shutdown was avoided, Gaetz and his allies were blasted as “clowns” who are “all talk.”
“Like I said, ‘McCarthy and the Republicans failed to cut aid for working families because @HouseDemocrats held the line and put people above politics.’ Matt Gaetz, [Rep. Andy] Biggs and the rest of them are all talk. They’ll never make a motion to remove McCarthy as Speaker,” wrote Rep. Jimmy Gomez, of California, in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
He was responding to a post from Biggs, a Republican from Arizona who also voted against the bill.
“Instead of siding with his own party today, Kevin McCarthy sided with 209 Democrats to push through a continuing resolution that maintains the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer spending levels and policies,” Biggs wrote. “He allowed the DC Uniparty to win again. Should he remain Speaker of the House?”
Rep. Eric Swalwell wrote: “I really admire @SpeakerMcCarthy for putting clowns like Biggs and Gaetz in an absolute box. They’ll never have the courage to try and remove him. McCarthy has really played them.”
Journalist Molly Jong-Fast wrote: “Democrats kept the government open. Matt Gaetz must be so mad.”
In a statement, Biden said the deal was “good news for the American people.”
But he added: “I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.”
Newsweek has contacted representatives of McCarthy and Gaetz for further comment via email.