McCarthy Responds to Loss of Speakership

( – Representative Kervin McCarthy (R-CA) was spectacularly removed as House Speaker on October 3, after just EIGHT of his fellow Republicans sided with Democrats. The motion to remove McCarthy came from the right wing of his own party –- but liberals jumped at the chance to unseat a key Republican. Now, he’s warned that the move could have serious consequences for our democracy.

A Palace Coup

For weeks, McCarthy –- who was elected as speaker in January after an unprecedented 15 rounds of voting –- has been caught between Democrats, who want to authorize more massive spending by the Biden administration and a handful of Republicans who want to see federal budgets sharply cut. On October 3, he finally ran out of road when Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) used a new mechanism McCarthy had been forced to agree to as the price of the last votes he needed to get the job.

Under the deal agreed in January, it only takes one representative to put forward a motion declaring the speaker’s post to be vacant; then, the issue has to go to a vote. Naturally, the Democrats were keen to get rid of McCarthy, a pro-Trump Republican who’s firmly on the right of the party. Even so, with a GOP majority in the House, McCarthy should have survived easily. Unfortunately for him, while 210 Republicans backed him, another eight –- all of them even further to the right than him –- sided with 208 Democrats to remove a House speaker for the first time in history.

McCarthy Steps Down

Hours after his removal, McCarthy spoke to reporters about what had happened. He said he has no plans to run for speaker again and added, “My fear is the institution fell today.” It’s certainly something for the next speaker to keep in mind; their position is a lot less secure than it used to be, and they can’t afford to upset even a single-digit number of people in their own party.

Who will be the next speaker, though? McCarthy has already ruled himself out, and it’s unlikely the Republicans who just voted to remove him would agree to put him back in the job anyway. Representative Troy Nehls (R-TX) has already suggested former president Donald Trump for the job, which he’s technically eligible –- the Constitution doesn’t specify that the House Speaker has to be a member of the House –- but with his attention on next year’s presidential election, he’s unlikely to want the job. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) has also been suggested as someone who “knows how to message effectively.” It could be weeks before the House has a speaker again, though, and that’s going to paralyze the government.

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