Kevin McCarthy has been ousted as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The vote comes as part of a campaign from Rep. Matt Gaetz and a posse of like-minded Republicans who have long opposed McCarthy, who is the first speaker to be axed as a result of a motion to vacate from his own party.
Gaetz’s standoff with McCarthy over the annual congressional appropriations process brought the government to the cliff’s edge of a shutdown last week. McCarthy struck a last-minute deal with Democrats to extend the funding deadline 45 days, over objections from hardline members of his party. Gaetz filed a motion to vacate against McCarthy in retaliation on Monday.
The motion in itself was controversial amongst the GOP. During more than an hour of debate on the House floor ahead of the vote, Gaetz sparred with Republicans who lauded McCarthy’s record as speaker. “If this House of Representatives has exceeded all expectations, then we definitely need higher expectations,” Gaetz declared in response to a floor speech from GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) lauding the majority’s record. “Boo all you want,” Gaetz later retorted to members of the chamber, who vocalized their annoyance after he attempted to justify fundraising off of his motion to fire McCarthy.
In the past, efforts to oust a House Speaker typically required a higher threshold of support from members to even make it to the floor — and it was McCarthy himself who changed the rules that Gaetz is now using against him. In January, McCarthy suffered through 15 rounds of voting before finally being elected as the majority leader in the lower chamber. The blockade against McCarthy’s election was also led by Gaetz, who almost came to blows with other members of his party during the repeated votes. In order to secure the votes for his election, McCarthy made massive concessions to the most conservative members of his party, including allowing any single member of the GOP to introduce a motion to fire him from the job.
Democrats joined the rogue Republicans in voting to remove McCarthy.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries reportedly told members of his party in a closed-door meeting that they would not move to delay the vote against McCarthy, and encouraged them to vote for his removal.
In a statement released through his office, Jeffries accused the GOP of restructuring the House “to empower right-wing extremists, kowtow to their harsh demands and impose a rigid partisan ideology.”
“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,” he added.
“Given their unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism in an authentic and comprehensive manner, House Democratic leadership will vote yes on the pending Republican Motion to Vacate the Chair.”
With McCarthy’s ouster, the House is essentially rendered useless until they can vote a new speaker into the position. An acting speaker would assume the position temporarily, but they lack many of the powers and privileges granted to the elected speaker. With a self-imposed deadline of 45 days to revisit budget negotiations, adding a speakership election will likely plunge the lower chamber into a period of ineffective chaos.
Outside of Congress, Trump, who has repeatedly attacked McCarthy and recently encouraged Gaetz and his allies to shut down the government unless they got everything they wanted, wondered why the members of the GOP can’t just get along.
“Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves,” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “Why aren’t they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?”
Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/kevin-mccarthy-voted-out-house-speaker-1234838540/