The House has removed its Speaker for the first time in recorded history.
On Tuesday, Democrats voted to remove Kevin McCarthy from his position of authority alongside Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and a small number of conservative supporters. It’s unknown who McCarthy will face in the long run for speaker, but supporters of the lawmaker have vowed to support him whatever.
“We’re perfectly happy to drag this out as long as it takes,” said Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), a McCarthy ally. “We’re all going to be there for the speaker as long as he wants us to be.”
“I’ll continue to support Kevin McCarthy as long as he’s running,” echoed Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.)
Immediately following the vote, the House clerk announced that Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) will serve as a temporary speaker. McCarthy hand-picked McHenry’s successors from a classified list. The ally of the Californian will have all the powers of a speaker chosen via regular election. Since House rules do not specify when a new speaker ballot must be held, there are a number of problems regarding that acting speaker.
Reps. Eli Crane (Ariz.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), Nancy Mace (S.C.), and Tim Burchett (Tenn.) were the eight Republicans who voted against McCarthy.
Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La. ), and Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) are the three House leaders that have been mentioned as possible long-term successors. Although none of the three have expressed interest in taking McCarthy’s place, that may soon change as the Californian is no longer technically in office.
In the days that followed, McCarthy’s long-standing problems with his right flank escalated into a full-fledged mutiny when he invoked a stopgap budget bill on Saturday that avoided a government shutdown without enacting any of the conservative border measures or spending cuts that he had promised to pursue. That short-term spending bill was approved by a larger number of Democrats than Republicans, virtually ensuring the conservative backlash against the speaker.
The House has never before been successful in its attempt to remove a speaker; the last attempt was made in 1910.
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