The U.S. House has passed a vote to oust Kevin McCarthy from the position of Speaker
It appears like Patrick McHenry of North Carolina will head the House until a new leader is chosen.
WATERTOWN — In a historic vote on Tuesday, dissident Republicans in the U.S. House sided with Democrats to remove Kevin McCarthy from the speakership. This happened just nine months after McCarthy won the position after days of negotiations with the GOP's right flank and fifteen voting rounds.
Having ventured into unknown ground, it was unclear immediately following the vote how the House would act in the days that followed. The House has never previously ousted a speaker. Speaker pro tem was Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina until a new speaker was chosen.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, filed a motion to vacate, and the vote on it, which took place 216-210, put an end to months of building dissatisfaction among a tiny group of House Republicans.
McCarthy was removed by a vote cast by Republican representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Gaetz, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
In addition, they voted against the motion's tabling, which occurred right before the vote and would have terminated the meeting.
Ohio Senator Warren Davidson, Florida Representative Cory Mills, and Indiana Senator Victoria Spartz voted against tabling but in favour of maintaining McCarthy as speaker.
A vote was taken by all present House Democrats to proclaim the speakership vacant.
There have only been three cases of a move to vacate filed thus far: this month, in July 2015, and in March 1910.
History has only seen three moves to vacate.
Despite appearing to expect that he would lose his position as speaker, McCarthy claimed, before to the vote, that he was calling Gaetz's bluff.
"Ultimately, I believe we're in a really bad place for how we're going to run Congress if you throw out a speaker who has 99% of their meeting, that kept the government open and paid the troops," McCarthy remarked.
The Republican from California stated that he thought it was "the correct decision" to back the bipartisan short-term budget agreement that was passed on Saturday, averting a partial government shutdown.
"I firmly believe in that choice, and if it means I will ultimately lose my job as a result, then so be it," McCarthy declared. "I'll keep fighting,"
McCarthy was publicly chastised by Gaetz and other hard-line conservatives for breaking a secret agreement he made with them in January to win the speakership.
Republicans in the group, some of whom are members of the Freedom Caucus, have bemoaned McCarthy's arrangement with President Joe Biden in May to prevent the country from going into default on its debt and his reliance on Democratic votes to get the short-term government spending package through.
Speaking on the floor on Monday, Gaetz pressed McCarthy to clarify if he had arranged a secret agreement with Biden to schedule a vote on legislation that would provide Ukraine more support in its battle against the Russian invasion. He also took issue with McCarthy for allegedly bringing up border security during those discussions.
Gaetz remarked, "I understand that many people might disagree with my perspectives on the border or Ukraine." "But let's at least agree that, regardless of your feelings towards Ukraine or the Southern border, each deserves to be treated with dignity and should not be lumped together."
Just prior to the vote, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced that the House Democrats will vote to remove the chair in a "Dear Colleague" letter.
"House Democratic leadership will vote yes on the pending Republican Motion to Vacate the Chair, given their unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism in an authentic and comprehensive manner," Jeffries stated.
A tiny portion of the House Republican Conference, many of whom supported McCarthy on the floor on Tuesday and defended his record, voted against McCarthy in the group of dissenting Republicans who voted to remove him.
GOP backers: "He made the right decision"
GOP Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma told reporters, "He's being punished because he did the right thing on Saturday and made sure that the government didn't shut down, and we bought more time to continue the appropriations process."
Cole made the move to table on McCarthy's behalf.
Before the vote, Rep. Steve Womack of the Republican Party of Arkansas informed reporters that the move to resign was a "fool's errand" and a diversion.
Womack, a member of the Appropriations Committee, stated that Republicans ought to concentrate on passing each of the 12 appropriations measures prior to the newly set deadline of mid-November.
"For what purpose have we brought the nation to the verge of a shutdown? "We're moving the remaining appropriations bills," Womack said. "The only way we can complete our work is if we pass the rule, move these bills to the Senate in conference, and get them across the floor."
South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson told reporters It was evident from Gaetz's campaign for a motion to vacate that McCarthy is the target of "middle school grudges."
Johnson declared, "I believe Matt (Gaetz) is making a major mistake." He is going to make America less wealthy, in my opinion. Chaos, in my opinion, has not benefited our nation.
Rep. Stephanie Bice, a Republican from Oklahoma, expressed doubt to reporters about the reasons given by some to remove McCarthy from office.
Don't be duped; this has nothing to do with the appropriations process. Gaetz wishes to discuss the idea that our work on appropriations should have begun in August. Look, it was not the case. Thus, Bice stated, "Now is the moment, and for the next forty-three days, we're going to be focusing on this instead of that."
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania, advised reporters that instead of concentrating on passing legislation to completely fund the government, Republicans should try to provide help to Ukraine.
Fitzpatrick declared, "The government will shut down, our credit rating will drop, and interest rates will rise if we leave the chair." "Ukraine will suffer and lose that conflict to Russia." That's what's in play here.
Democrats applaud in private.
For about ninety minutes on Tuesday morning, Democrats convened behind closed doors to strategize and give members a minute to address the move to vacate. There were cheers and rounds of applause from the corridor outside the room.
Following the discussion, Democratic members said that McCarthy had not earned their trust.
Prior to the vote, Democratic Representative from New Hampshire Annie Kuster informed reporters that the party had a "unity of purpose."
Kuster stated, "What has happened is that the current speaker has chosen to cater to a very extreme element that, in my view, it's sort of a post-truth world." This is something that all of you have observed, as has the American people. "I believe that's evident within his own caucus, but it's also evident in the way he's handled us and the American people."
The Democratic representative from Washington state and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, told reporters that the House GOP may "wallow in their pigsty of incompetence and inability to govern."
Republicans' internal disputes about who should be speaker, according to Jayapal, are not a problem that Democrats felt compelled to resolve. She said that Democrats are hesitant to support McCarthy in maintaining the speakership because of his history of betraying their confidence.
"Why should we believe Kevin McCarthy when no one else does? "He has consistently broken his word," Jayapal said.
According to Jayapal, McCarthy's record of actions has undermined any Democratic support he could have had. These include his remarks made in public when pro-Trump protestors stormed the Capitol on January 6, his withdrawal from a spending deal he and Biden negotiated earlier this year, and his choice to postpone bringing a bill that would have increased funding for Ukraine to the floor.
"On the House floor, Kevin McCarthy said one thing, then he spoke with Donald Trump and changed his mind right away," Jayapal claimed. "He attempted to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power and supported the insurrectionist president who made January 6 possible."
Ahead to the voting, Democratic candidate from New York, Jeffries, assured reporters that the party would "keep putting people over politics and to fight to make life better for everyday Americans."
"It has been our goal from the beginning and it will always be our only focus," Jeffries stated. "We urge our more traditional-minded Republican colleagues to distance themselves from the extremists."
Democrats were "ready, willing, and able to work together with GOP lawmakers," according to Jeffries.
However, Jeffries said, "it is on them to join us to move the Congress and the country forward."
Following the discussion behind closed doors, Democratic representative from Massachusetts, Rep. Richard Neal, told reporters that there wasn't "a lot of goodwill in that room for Kevin McCarthy."
Negotiating with someone you can trust and who can genuinely fulfil their word is essential if you're going to do it, Neal stated. Furthermore, there isn't much proof that Kevin McCarthy has been true to his pledge.
Conflicts with expenditures, Ukraine
A short-term deal to fund the government through November 17 was agreed by Congress only hours before a shutdown was scheduled to start this weekend. The interim bill was approved by the House 335 to 91, with 90 Republicans voting against it. Nine Republicans voted against the bill, which was adopted by senators 88–9.
Though Biden stated on Sunday that he and McCarthy had agreed to get the votes necessary to approve an extra package providing military support and humanitarian supplies for the war-torn nation as it fights off further Russian invasion, the agreement did not include more funds for Ukraine.
Not the only time McCarthy collaborated with Democrats to prevent financial disaster was on the interim funding package meant to prevent a government shutdown. A compromise to increase the debt ceiling and prevent the United States from going into default on its obligations was mediated by the speaker and Biden in May.
The agreement, which was ratified as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, had expenditure caps for the fiscal year that started on October 1.
During this year's appropriations process, McCarthy has failed to unite his far-right colleagues around the set spending levels, putting the federal government on the verge of a partial shutdown.
Conservative House members have been browbeating McCarthy even prior to his taking office.
It took McCarthy fifteen ballots to become speaker of the house in January after a four-day impasse in which over a dozen far-right conservatives obstructed him.
After making a number of concessions to the extreme right side of his party, including altering the motion to vacate so that any member may effectively call for a vote of no confidence in the speaker, the California Republican emerged victorious on the fifteenth ballot.
McCarthy also made arrangements for far-right members to sit on important committees and made a handshake agreement with House Freedom Caucus members, pledging to reduce expenditure.