Matt Gaetz awkwardly debates Fox News host as she praises GOP wins

Republican gadfly Matt Gaetz found himself battling a host on Fox News to trash his own congressional delegation.

Mr Gaetz, one of a group of far-right holdouts who have balked at Kevin McCarthy’s plan to keep the government open with a one-month continuing resolution while cutting spending rates, appeared on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures this week to explain his latest rebellion against Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The Florida congressman’s already-drafted motion to oust Mr McCarthy from his seat was discovered this past week by a reporter, Matt Laslo. The holdout contingent has a varying list of demands by members for their vote; Tim Burchett and others, for example, are refusing to vote for anything short of a full budget, which does not have the votes to pass yet either.

Mr Gaetz and others have demanded deeper spending cuts, ones that would match levels that Mr McCarthy actually promised them during his speakership election in January. But Mr McCarthy has conceded that he does not yet have the votes for that, and has warned that there is not enough time to get a larger budget package passed before the federal government reaches the 30 September shutdown deadline.

On Sunday, Mr Gaetz defended his position and found himself battling Maria Bartiromo over the achievements of the House GOP majority.

As the two quibbled over why Mr McCarthy was finally moving the chamber towards passage of a larger budget package, following months of delay, Bartiromo questioned why Mr Gaetz and his allies would risk “blow[ing] up all of the wins that you have had” in the majority.

“Which wins?” Mr Gaetz countered. “Please enumerate them.”

“How about the fact that he has set up a weaponisation committee to investigate the [Department of Justice], whether they’re involved in a cover-up?” she responded.

The two continue to argue, with Bartiromo refusing to let Mr Gaetz interrupt her: “Hold on! Hold on!”

She went on to name the formation of a bipartisan committee focused on US-China policy and the potential launch of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden as other victories for House conservatives.

The Florida congressman responded that neither of those examples were “deliverables”.

Thousands of federal workers will see their paychecks furloughed beginning next week if Congress does not pass a budget or funding resolution of some kind and get it signed by the president before that 30 September deadline. News agencies have indicated that the GOP conference is in a state of panic as the deadline approaches, with leadership frantically trying to convince hardliners to support their legislation.

Should they fail, Mr McCarthy’s other options are to endure a government shutdown — one that would damage the US economy and be politically toxic for Republicans — or cut a deal with Democrats to fund the government with a so-called “clean CR”, which would keep spending at its present levels across government. That latter option would likely result in an effort by those same holdouts to oust him from his speakership less than a year into the job.