In an unprecedented move in the American House of Representatives, dissatisfied Republicans voted with Democrats on Tuesday to remove Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker’s position. This historic step came after months of negotiations and 15 rounds of voting.
After entering an unknown territory, it wasn’t immediately clear what the days ahead would hold for the House. Before this, a Speaker had never been removed by the House at any time. Patrick McHenry, the Representative from North Carolina, had been named the Protem Speaker until the election of a new Speaker.
With a vote of 216-210, introduced by Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz on Monday evening, this ended months of growing dissatisfaction among a small faction within House Republicans.
Republican Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Andy Biggs, Virginia’s Bob Good, South Carolina’s Nancy Mace, and Montana’s Matt Rosendale all voted to remove McCarthy. They also voted against the motion to present the proposal, which could have prevented the process from moving forward.
Who Supported Kevin McCarthy:
Ohio’s Warren Davidson, Florida’s Cory Mills, and Indiana’s Victoria Spartz voted against keeping the Speaker’s position vacant but voted in favor of keeping Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.
All House Democrats present voted to declare the Speaker’s position vacant.
So far, there have been only three instances where a proposal to declare the position vacant was filed, in March 1910, July 2015, and this month.
Only Three Proposals to Declare Vacancy in History.
Before the vote, Kevin McCarthy said that he was coming into Gaetz’s clutches, though he acknowledged that he would be removed from the Speaker’s position.
At the end of the day, when you throw out a member who had 99% of their conference, who kept the government open, and paid the troops – I think we are in a really bad place about how we move forward as a Congress, McCarthy said.
California Republican stated that he believed his support for passing the bipartisan short-term government spending bill on Saturday, which prevented a partial government shutdown, was the “right decision.”
Kevin McCarthy stated, “I stand by that decision, and at the end of the day, if I lose my job because of it, so be it.” “I will continue to fight.”
Gaetz and other staunch conservatives have publicly criticized Kevin McCarthy for not sticking to the private agreement he made with them in January to secure the Speakership.
The group of GOP members, some of whom are part of the Freedom Caucus, has expressed disappointment in McCarthy for relying on Democratic votes to pass the May agreement with President Joe Biden that averted a default on the nation’s debt.
Gaetz criticized Kevin McCarthy on Monday for entering into a private deal with Biden that would provide additional aid to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. He also criticized McCarthy for allegedly including border security provisions in those talks.
Gaetz said on Monday, “I think many people may take issue with the idea that Matt Gaetz’s perspective on the border or Ukraine should be injected into what is really an independent thought of every one of our members.”
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries released a “Dear Colleague” letter just before the vote, in which he announced that House Democrats would vote to declare the chair vacant.
Jeffries wrote, “In light of their genuine and broad-based dissatisfaction with MEGAA (Kevin McCarthy), House Democratic leadership will vote ‘yes’ on the pending Republican motion to vacate the chair.”
The group of dissatisfied Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy represents a small fraction of the House Republican Conference, some of whom supported McCarthy on the floor on Monday and defended his record.
Oklahoma GOP Representative Tom Cole told reporters, “He’s being punished because he did the right thing on Saturday and ensured the government didn’t shut down, and he gave us more time to continue the appropriations process.”
Cole introduced the proposal on Kevin McCarthy’s behalf.
Arkansas GOP Representative Steve Womack told reporters that Gaetz’s proposal to vacate the chair was distracting and “foolish work.”
Womack, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, said that Republicans should focus on getting all 12 appropriations bills for the next fiscal year approved before the new time limit in mid-November.
Why are we taking the nation to the brink with a government shutdown when the rest of our appropriations bills are advancing? Womack said. We have work to do, and the only way to do that is to pass the rule, bring these bills to the floor, and take them to the Senate.