Republicans warn of mass exodus from bipartisan group over Dem failure to back McCarthy

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Several House Republicans in a key bipartisan group have said they could soon see a mass exodus over their Democratic counterparts’ role in Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster this week. 

‘I’m really thinking strongly about leaving the Problem Solvers Caucus,’ Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital. ‘I think there’s a lot of Republicans who are disenchanted with the Democratic members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.’

McCarthy, R-Calif., became the first speaker of the House in U.S. history to be booted from the job after eight hardliners within his party joined with every Democrat to vote him out of it.

‘I’m very frustrated that none of the members who claim to be centrist… would work with us to defeat this motion to vacate,’ Malliotakis said. ‘If their whole purpose is to bring good governance and make sure that we can continue our work to get through this appropriations process in the next 40 days, they should have done the right thing here, which would have been to… keep Congress working.’

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., said when asked if he and other Republicans wanted to leave the group, ‘I don’t want to speak for them, but I know I am definitely not happy, and I’ve… spoken to others who feel similar.’

A source familiar with discussions told Fox News Digital that senior Republicans in the Problem Solvers Caucus were under the impression that several Democratic lawmakers would shield McCarthy. 

‘Republican leaders in the Problem Solvers Caucus made last-ditch efforts up until the vote to get Democrats to help save McCarthy’s speakership. They viewed it as an opportunity for a bipartisan effort to save the institution after Speaker McCarthy put a bipartisan bill to avert a government shutdown on the floor,’ the source said.

‘Before the House Dem meeting, a few Dem members had indicated that they would likely help save McCarthy and then flipped and joined [Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.] in ousting the speaker.’

Democrats would not have necessarily had to vote for McCarthy to save him. If enough lawmakers voted ‘present’ it would have given him a lower threshold needed to reach a simple majority – though the effect would have been the same.

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., said when asked about Republicans leaving the Problem Solvers Caucus, ‘I think a number of my colleagues have certainly raised that.’

‘I have not yet. I think that, you know, I want to let cooler heads prevail a little bit before having that conversation,’ Lawler said. ‘But, you know, I think this was a problem to be solved, and folks failed to meet the moment.’

Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., said on CNBC on Thursday, ‘There are a lot of us that are very upset… This was a golden opportunity for us to come together and actually oppose a move by the extremists in Congress, and the whole institution fell short.’

Malliotakis accused Democrats of acting hypocritically in voting the same way as Gaetz and other GOP hardliners.

‘You can’t have it both ways,’ she said. ‘You can’t say reject the extremists and then go out of your way to work with them.’

D’Esposito called it ‘the most extreme legislative action’ he had seen on the House floor.

‘Many Democrats wrongly slander their Republican colleagues as alleged ‘extremists,’ but when push came to shove, those same Democrats entered into an unholy alliance with Matt Gaetz and his crew of misfits to paralyze the government,’ he said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Problem Solvers Caucus for comment but did not immediately hear back. 

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