Republican Matt Gaetz moves to oust McCarthy as speaker

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STORY: US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faced the biggest threat to his speakership so far from hardline critics within his party on Monday in what seemed to be political punishment after he'd worked with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown over the weekend.

Far-right Republican Matt Gaetz called for McCarthy to be ousted.

He began a process to force a vote on whether the speaker should keep his post.

"Declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant. Resolved that the Office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant."

It would take just five Republican votes to threaten McCarthy's hold on power, if all Democrats voted against him.

Hardliners seethed that McCarthy relied on Democratic votes on Saturday to pass a temporary funding extension, to head off a partial government shutdown.

McCarthy also didn't impose any of the spending cuts or changes to border security that the hardliners had called for.

The House Speaker said he expects to survive the leadership challenge, and wrote "Bring it on" on social media.

The squabble over funding is just an extension of a long-running feud McCarthy has had with far-right colleagues Gaetz and about two dozen Republicans forced McCarthy in January to endure a withering 15 rounds of voting before he was elected speaker, and not before squeezing in concessions that would let any House member to call for a vote to oust him.

No U.S. House speaker has been removed from the position, which is second in line in succession for the presidency after the vice president.

It's also unclear whether any Democrats would vote to back McCarthy after he'd upset them last month by launching an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.