It's 'Rational' to Expel Rep. Matt Gaetz From House GOP Conference, Newt Gingrich Says

It's 'Rational' to Expel Rep. Matt Gaetz From House GOP Conference, Newt Gingrich Says
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks during the America First Agenda Summit at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington on July 26, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Bill Pan

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) should be removed from the House Republican conference and relieved of his committee assignments over his escalated feud with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The former Georgia congressman wrote on X on Sunday that he believes that having Mr. Gaetz fully expelled from the lower chamber seems infeasible, but blocking his participation in the party conference and committees would be a more "rational response."

"The effort to expel Matt Gaetz for being a destructive, irresponsible anti-Republican may be a step too far. Expulsion from the House requires a two thirds vote," Mr. Gingrich wrote.

"However expelling him from the House Republican Conference and eliminating all his committee assignments and all resources other than those an individual member is entitled to would be a rational response to his suicidal efforts to cripple the House GOP."

Mr. Gingrich also questioned whether Mr. Gaetz was working for Democrats.

"Is Gaetz secretly an agent for the Democratic Party? No one else is doing as much to undermine, weaken and cripple the House GOP," he wrote.

Under current rules of the House Republican Conference, it takes a two-thirds vote of the entire membership to expel a member.

When it comes to committee assignments, Mr. McCarthy has the authority to remove Mr. Gaetz from select and conference committees, such as the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. To remove a member from a standing committee, like the House Judiciary Committee, the House must pass a resolution of removal.

Gaetz Holds His Ground

Mr. Gingrich's comments comes as Mr. Gaetz renewed his threat to oust Mr. McCarthy from his leadership position.
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Mr. Gaetz said he will file a motion for Mr. McCarthy's removal sometime this week.

"We need to rip off the Band-Aid. We need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy," he said, following the last-minute passage of a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government open.

Mr. McCarthy pushed the funding bill—referred to as a continuing resolution—through the House with the help of Democrats. This measure, which some Republican hardliners argued was the "clean" bill Democrats wanted, would keep the government funded at current levels for another 45 days, while including $16 billion for federal disaster assistance, as had been requested by the White House.

The bill cleared the lower chamber with a 335–91 vote on Saturday afternoon, ultimately drawing more support from Democrats than Republicans—209 Democrats joined 126 Republicans in casting the "yes" vote.

It was then approved by the Senate with an 88–9 margin and signed into law by President Joe Biden about three hours before a midnight deadline.

The compromise bill did not include any new aid for Ukraine. However, President Biden on Sunday told reporters that he expects Mr. McCarthy to "keep his commitment to secure the passage and support needed to help Ukraine," prompting Mr. Gaetz to accuse the speaker of making a secret deal to pass money for the embattled country, which has already received over $43 billion from the United States to assist its war effort.

"Members of the Republican Party might vote differently on a motion to vacate if they heard what the speaker had to share with us about his secret side deal with Joe Biden on Ukraine. I'll be listening. Stay tuned," Mr. Gaetz said Monday during a speech on the House floor.

McCarthy Responds

In response to the accusation, Mr. McCarthy said on Monday that there is no such deal with President Biden on funding Ukraine.

"There's no side deal. So I don't know who's bringing that up," he told reporters at the Capitol. "There is no side deal on Ukraine."

According to Mr. McCarthy, this commitment President Biden was referring to is to make sure that the money allocated for Ukraine last year kept flowing during the 45-day period when the federal government will run on temporary funds.

"I said in some way, if the continuing resolution doesn’t do that, we'll fix that," he said. "It's something we do all the time."

He also shrugged off Mr. Gaetz's declared effort to oust him, which has yet to materialize.

"If people want to play politics with it, let's play politics with it. But I'm just going to do what I think is best for the American public and let it rest."

Unlike the continuing resolution, which takes a two-thirds supermajority to pass, a motion to vacate the speaker only needs a simple majority. If Mr. Gaetz's motion does come to the floor for a vote, with all current members present and voting, it would need 218 votes to pass, the same number of votes Mr. McCarthy needed to win the speaker's gavel.