Gaetz: Gov’t Shutdown Not ‘Optimal,’ But Better Than ‘Financial Ruin’

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz sent sparks flying during a Sunday interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. With a government shutdown looming, Bartiromo grilled Gaetz on his opposition to a short-term stopgap spending bill, accusing him of a “personal vendetta” against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Gaetz has openly protested the measure, saying that he will not vote to fund the government without scaling back spending.

“The disruptor trying to blow up the GOP unity, take down the speaker and shut down the government, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz on his motives to disrupt the Republican wins including investigating potential bribery from Joe Biden,” Bartiromo said while introducing Gaetz on her show.

“I’m glad I get to respond to your monologue because if you’re saying that I’m standing in the way of all the Republican wins, I’d love you to enumerate them,” Gaetz shot back.

Gaetz’s criticisms of the temporary measure include a failure to address issues at the Southern Border and a continuance of funding to the Zelensky government in Ukraine. Around $300 million is allocated to Ukraine in the current stopgap measure.

“So, if the Department of Labor and Education has to shut down for a few days as we get their appropriations in line, that’s certainly not something that is optimal, but I think it’s better than continuing on the current path that we are to America’s financial ruin.”

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“Are you not right now indirectly working with Democrats?” Bartiromo prodded. “Because you are going to allow Chuck Schumer to come up with a continuing resolution next week to fund the government. That’s what your actions are doing. That’s why some people feel this is a personal vendetta you have against the speaker.”

“No, my vendetta is against a Washington system that allows corruption to put the interests of lobbyists and PACs above the interests of the American people,” Gaetz replied, saying that McCarthy “facilitates that system.”

“I’m not working with Chuck Schumer, any other Democrat, I am the one working with House conservatives to require single subject spending bills,” he added.

After Bartiromo accused Gaetz of “enabling” the Democrats, the Florida Republican fired back,

“No, no, no. You guys criticize me for forcing single subject spending bills, then you give Kevin McCarthy the credit for doing it. The reality is, this is the only way to liberate ourselves from a bad system.”

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During the tense exchange, Gaetz criticized McCarthy’s work as Speaker of the House.

“Take, for example, the border, this issue you think has great primacy, and I would agree with you. The Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill was passed out of the Appropriations Committee in June, and yet Kevin McCarthy hasn’t put it on the floor in more than one hundred days.”

“That is not serious,” Gaetz added. “And you know why Kevin McCarthy didn’t move our border appropriations bill? Because the lobbyists and the special interests who own Kevin McCarthy want to put us in this position, where we’re backed up against the wall, facing shutdown politics. And what that does is it centralizes power to the people that they buy off with PAC donations and lobbyist donations. And then the membership doesn’t get to make real contributions to that process. I’m trying to democratize it.”

Earlier this month, Gaetz threatened to remove McCarthy from office, which he said would be “pursuant to a motion to vacate the chair.”

If an agreement is not reached in Congress, a shutdown is expected to take effect on Sunday.

Other stories you may want to read:

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