WASHINGTON, DC, USA – In a stunning turn of events, the US House of Representatives voted on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 to remove Kevin McCarthy from his position as speaker.
This historic decision, the first of its kind, threatens to further exacerbate the ongoing discord within the House Republican ranks.
The next step involves the election of a new House speaker. However, a clear successor to McCarthy with enough support is yet to emerge. McCarthy’s political trajectory is uncertain, and it remains to be seen whether he will attempt to reclaim the speakership.
This unprecedented move comes on the heels of a rare bipartisan effort led by McCarthy to prevent a government shutdown. Nevertheless, a faction of staunch conservatives within the GOP has consistently undermined him, resisting key priorities set by the GOP leadership and continually challenging McCarthy’s agenda.
In a precursor to the final decision, an attempt to halt the motion to remove McCarthy failed with a 208-218 vote, with 11 Republicans opposing the motion. The defectors included prominent figures such as Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, and Nancy Mace.
Interestingly, House Democrats had indicated that they would not come to McCarthy’s aid. The Democratic caucus harbors significant resentment towards McCarthy, stemming from his tenure as speaker and the broader House GOP agenda.
In a communique to his fellow Democrats, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries stated that the leadership intended to support the motion to oust McCarthy. Jeffries emphasized the need for the GOP to decisively distance themselves from MAGA-driven extremism.
McCarthy, speaking to reporters prior to the vote, expressed confidence in retaining his position. However, he did acknowledge the precariousness of his situation, noting the decisive role a few Republicans siding with the Democrats could play.
While he did not anticipate Democratic support, he also confirmed he had no plans to negotiate with them.
During a GOP party meeting on Tuesday, Matt Gaetz was pressed for clarity on his intentions and potential replacements for McCarthy.
Gaetz acknowledged the need for a subsequent speaker’s election but refrained from naming any preferred candidates.
The process to force a vote on the speaker’s position requires a member to publicly express their intent on the House floor. Following this announcement, the speaker is obliged to schedule the resolution within two legislative days, culminating in a floor vote.
Matt Gaetz had initiated this procedure, leading to the dramatic events of Tuesday.