On Thursday, Kevin McCarthy made good on his final pledge to the Conservatives when he carried out the House vote to remove Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
That honored a commitment he made after Democrats — and 11 Republicans — voted to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from their committees. McCarthy has decided to make her her most indefatigable co-sponsor, with The New York Times reporting last month that he said “I will never leave that woman.”
But now comes the hard part: This week he had his first meeting with President Joe Biden about the debt limit. But he has made so many concessions to the conservatives that he has made their bargaining position virtually impossible.
His decision to remove Ms. Omar, as well as Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee, also fulfills his promise to Republicans after Democrats voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and remove him from their committees.
That punishment came after he posted video of a character with his own head killing a character with the head of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Notably, Gosar voted against McCarthy being the speaker for the first 12 rounds with Gosar only changing after McCarthy made numerous concessions to the Conservatives.
Among those concessions was allowing three conservatives, including Reps. Chip Roy and Ralph Norman, who initially opposed his presidency, to sit on the powerful House Rules Committee, which governs what legislation can go to the floor. It also lowered the threshold for a motion to vacate the chair, meaning that any individual member can bring a motion to remove Mr. McCarthy.
What The times McCarthy reportedly saw House conservatives depose both John Boehner and Paul Ryan and made a conscious decision to align himself with the far-right flank of the caucus. He has done so by aligning himself with figures like Jim Jordan, who previously opposed Republican leadership, and Roy who, as Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff, helped orchestrate the government shutdown in 2013.
But the debt ceiling negotiations were precisely the kind of negotiations that turned out to be the undoing of Ryan and Boehner. And all the goodwill he’s built up with conservatives could evaporate entirely if they don’t believe his negotiations won enough cuts from the Biden administration.
Tellingly, all Democrats, even those who vehemently disagreed with Ms. Omar’s comments on Israel and thought they were anti-Semitic, endorsed her and voted against the House resolution. That could serve as a precursor that she probably won’t be able to defeat even the most conservative Democrats if she makes deep spending cuts in exchange for a debt limit increase.
On top of that, he has given them the tools to block a resolution to raise the debt limit by putting the Tories on Rules and given them a loaded gun with a motion to vacate the chair.