Speaker of the House Vote Continues

By Jack Pluth and Justin Malone, Staff Writer and World News Editor

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan delayed a second vote on his possible ascension to become the next Speaker of the House last night after the removal of Kevin McCarthy from the position.

Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
Kevin McCarthy, a Republican representative from California, was removed from his position as Speaker of the House in an unprecedented “motion to vacate” vote, initiated by Representative Matt Gaetz.

McCarthy’s removal marks the first time in American history that the position has been vacated.  McCarthy’s term as Speaker of the House had not yet reached its one-year mark.  

After McCarthy vacated the Speaker role, Representative Patrick McHenry was designated with the speaker pro tempore role and is presiding over the House with limited powers. Because of this development, major bills focusing on major issues like the conflict in Israel and the looming government shutdown in November have been stalled.

A resolution proposed by Representative Mike Kelly last Monday would temporarily expand McHenry’s powers until Nov. 17 or until a new Speaker is elected. If this resolution passes, the House could hold votes necessary to  fund the government beyond the shutdown date and pass legislation.

After several deliberations, including Representative Steve Scalise bowing out  from consideration for Speaker in face of opposition from hard-right conservatives, the GOP nominated Jordan for the role last Friday.

Jordan, who serves as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and founded the Freedom Caucus, received the nomination after garnering 124 votes in a secret party ballot, far short of the 217 votes he likely needs to win the speakership. 

Yesterday, Jordan failed to win enough votes to be elected as Speaker as the House voted 200 to 232 to reject the nomination with 20 Republicans voting against Jordan. The House delayed a second vote on Jordan until 11 a.m. today, further demonstrating divisions in the chamber. 

Republican holdouts mainly consisted of legislative members who objected to Jordan’s record and fear that Jordan could alienate voters in certain districts. A large share of those who voted against Jordan came from members of the Appropriations and Armed Service Committees, which help direct legislation and governmental tasks in the House.

The removal of McCarthy stemmed from the Republicans’ razor-thin majority in the House, which was created by the 2022 midterm election results. This majority allowed the Republicans to appoint McCarthy as Speaker of the House, albeit after 15 attempts to unite his party and from support by the Freedom Caucus.

McCarthy’s appointment required deliberation between him and a group of further-right Republicans under the banner of the “Freedom Caucus,” led by Florida representative Matt Gaetz. 

Gaetz launched his major offensive efforts to boot McCarthy from his position on Oct. 2 and did so through a provision made by McCarthy in January in which only one representative was needed to bring up a “motion to vacate” vote. No Democratic representatives voted to retain McCarthy as the speaker. 

Citing a failure of the current speaker to “fulfill his promises,” Gaetz’s efforts, along with a group of seven other House Republicans, joined with the Democrats to remove McCarthy as speaker.

“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January, and since then he’s been in brazen, repeated material breach of that agreement,” Gaetz said. “This agreement (to avoid a government shutdown) that he made with Democrats to really blow past a lot of the spending guardrails we set up is a last straw,” Gaetz continued.

McCarthy was stripped of his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives in a 216-210 vote.

“I may have lost this vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber I feel fortunate to have served,” McCarthy said at a press conference.

Speculation has arisen  from far-right conservatives that McCarthy’s replacement would have to have bipartisan support if they intend on keeping their position.