US House Removes McCarthy as Speaker of House

US House Removes McCarthy as Speaker of House – On Tuesday, U.S. legislators made history by voting to remove the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for the very first time. In a vote of 216-210, Republican Kevin McCarthy was stripped of his position as Speaker, following an uncommon challenge from members of his own party. 

Until a new Speaker is elected next week, the House will be unable to conduct further votes. Late on Monday, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz initiated a motion to compel a vote on McCarthy’s removal, expressing his frustration with McCarthy’s leadership. This frustration stemmed from McCarthy’s inability to pass a government funding bill last week that aligned with conservative spending priorities.

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Given the narrow Republican majority in the House, Gaetz only needed a small number of Republican votes, combined with Democratic support, to succeed in ousting McCarthy. Nevertheless, the majority of Republicans opted to retain McCarthy in his leadership role. “Think long and hard before you plunge us into chaos because that’s where we’re headed if we vacate the speakership,” Representative Tom Cole warned fellow Republicans on the House floor Tuesday.

Gaetz responded during debate on the House floor, saying, “I don’t think voting against Kevin McCarthy is chaos. I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos. I think that facing a $2.2 trillion-dollar annual deficit is chaos. I think that not passing single-subject spending bills is chaos.” Certain Republicans have also voiced their discontent regarding an agreement that McCarthy struck earlier this year with President Joe Biden. 

This agreement involved setting limits on spending in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. “Many of us had begged the speaker, pleaded with the speaker repeatedly to utilize the debt ceiling to leverage spending cuts and reforms. Instead, he negotiated an unlimited increase to the debt ceiling,” Republican Representative Bob Good said on the House floor Tuesday, urging members to remove McCarthy.

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Prior to Tuesday, there had never been a removal of a Speaker of the House from office. However, on Tuesday night, McCarthy declared that he would not pursue re-election for the position of Speaker. “I can continue to fight, maybe in a different manner, and will not run for speaker again,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday night.

Similar to the recent discussions aimed at preventing a federal government shutdown, the limited Republican majority in the House meant that Democrats had the numerical advantage to sway the vote concerning McCarthy. In a letter addressed to fellow Democrats on Tuesday morning, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries encouraged members of his caucus to support the removal of McCarthy from his position as Speaker.

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“House Democrats remain willing to find common ground on an enlightened path forward. Unfortunately, our extreme Republican colleagues have shown no willingness to do the same. It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War,” Jeffries said in the letter. To remove McCarthy from office, a vote needed a basic majority in the 435-member House of Representatives. 

Currently, Republicans hold a majority in the chamber, with 221 seats compared to the 212 held by Democrats. McCarthy spoke with Jeffries Monday night. McCarthy said he told Jeffries, “You guys do whatever you need to do. I get politics. I understand where people are.”

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“I truly believe, though, in the institution of the House at the end of the day — if you throw a speaker out that has 99% of their conference, that kept the government open and paid the troops, I think we’re in a really bad place for how we’re going to run Congress.” Gaetz’s challenge emerged a few days following McCarthy’s reliance on votes from a bloc of Democrats to secure the passage of a temporary funding measure, preventing a government shutdown.

McCarthy assumed the position of House Speaker in January after multiple rounds of voting in which Gaetz and other Republicans opposed his candidacy. One of the concessions that ultimately led to McCarthy’s election was his agreement to permit any individual member to initiate a vote for the removal of the Speaker.

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