House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Fox host Maria Bartiromo he would “not be deterred” by threats to vacate him from the speaker’s seat.
“How would we ever select the speaker?” he said, referencing January’s deadlocked vote, which he won on the 15th ballot after a week of trying to rally Republican support. He added that this would only hamper House Republicans’ investigations.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) had criticized the speaker only an hour after he launched an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
“I rise today to serve notice—Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role,” said Mr. Gaetz, referencing the absence of votes on issues including balancing the budget and congressional roll calls.
“The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you into immediate, total compliance or remove you pursuant to a motion to vacate the chair,” he said.
In the Sunday interview, Mr. McCarthy said it was his colleagues’ right to do so but he felt it was a distraction.
“These are individuals that have the right to do what they want but I am only going to focus on the American public,” he said.
In the same interview, he said the president’s son Hunter Biden would be subpoenaed at some point now that they’ve launched an impeachment inquiry.
“We’re showing the American public how we follow the Constitution. An impeachment inquiry is simply an ability that gives Congress the strength to get the answers to questions,” he said, adding that House Republicans are seeking answers to questions about the president’s use of a pseudonym and whistleblower allegations.
“We’re simply following the facts wherever they take us, but unfortunately it looks like a culture of corruption with this family,” Mr. McCarthy said.
President Biden has maintained that he has stayed out of his son’s business, and referred inquiries to the Department of Justice.
“Hunter Biden will get subpoenaed,” Mr. McCarthy said, when the time is right. “I think we should have the bank statements to actually know where did the money go, so you would have the questions to ask Hunter Biden.”
The official impeachment process allows Congress “a legal ability to get what we need,” he explained.
Mr. McCarthy also said he was trying to avoid a government shutdown.
“I’ve been through shutdowns and I have never seen someone win a shutdown,” he said, explaining that allowing one would only give power to the Biden administration.
“How are you going to win your arguments to secure the border if the border agents don’t get paid? How are you going to win the arguments to get wokeism out of the Department of Defense if even our own troops aren’t being paid? We have no strength there,” he said.
He noted that issues like border security have increasingly gained bipartisan support, with progressive city officials who’ve previously supported the idea of “sanctuary cities” like New York City Mayor Eric Adams now declaring the flow of illegal immigration needs to be stopped. However, he refrained from commenting on the more contentious issues like funding Ukraine and deep spending cuts, which some members are sure to dig their heels in on.
He added that the House bills are more conservative than the ones in the Senate, so they need to be passed to even reach the negotiation phase, criticizing his colleagues who favor a shutdown.
“Anytime a Republican wants to hold back and stop the floor from working when Republicans have the majority, that makes us weaker at the end of the day,” he said. “I believe we’ll get agreement this week.”