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The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The House of Chaos — Republicans in Disarray

House Republicans have been unable to select a new speaker after ousting Kevin McCarthy.

On October 3, in a shocking turn of events, now-former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by a far-right faction in the Republican Party by a vote of 216-210. It was the first time a House speaker had been removed after a motion to vacate the position passed.

McCarthy’s speakership was tumultuous since he took the gavel when it took him fifteen rounds to claw his way to the position. The majority of his opposition came from far-right members of his own party. He made numerous concessions, agreements, and promises in order to placate them. One of these concessions was allowing only a single, displeased House member to raise a motion to vacate him. Once he agreed to this, many of McCarthy’s allies were concerned. They warned him that it was likely he’d be facing a motion to vacate in the near future.

 On October 1st, McCarthy narrowly avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill with the help of Democrats. Then, to try and save face with the far-right Republicans who stringently opposed the bill, McCarthy accused the same Democrats that had helped him of being behind the government’s near shutdown. This was the final straw that tarnished the Democrats’ opinion of him.

The next day, Matt Gaetz, McCarthy’s longtime personal enemy, who blamed McCarthy for not shutting down an ethics investigation into Gaetz’s behavior, took this opportunity to kick off the process of removing him from the speakership. He claimed that by passing the bill to avert the shutdown, McCarthy had broken the promises he made to conservatives, including not holding to a set budget baseline and his vow that the House would not see a bill that would require more Democrats than Republicans to pass. It soon became clear that due to a schism within the Republican Party, the only way McCarthy would be able to retain his position was if the Democrats threw him a lifeline by voting to keep him as Speaker. However, due to the concerns of McCarthy catering too much to the far-right that had plagued his brief tenure, they refused to do so. The Democrats unanimously decided to leave McCarthy to his fate, and with the addition of the votes of Matt Gaetz and seven other Republicans, he was ousted from his seat.

Matt Gaetz did not get away unscathed. The majority of Republicans defended McCarthy and during the proceedings, Gaetz was made to sit away from his own party, which booed him. After McCarthy was removed, there were talks among Republicans about expelling Gaetz and the other Republicans who voted against McCarthy from the GOP conference.

Initially, two men vied for the Speaker’s gavel. The first was Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and the other was Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Just over a week after McCarthy was removed, Republicans nominated Scalise to be their next Speaker in a narrow vote. 

However, on October 17, Scalise, despite having an initial vote higher than Jordan’s, withdrew his name after receiving opposition from hard-line conservatives. Then, Republicans re-voted, this time nominating Jordan to be their preferred choice for Speaker.

But in yet another chaotic twist, twenty Republicans voted against him in the first round of voting, leaving Jordan also unable to grab the speakership. His plans to try again were foiled when he got 199 votes, short of the needed 217 in his second try a day later. But the crushing blow came after he lost a third consecutive vote– this time only garnering 194 Republican votes– as defections from his own party piled up, often due to complaints about his far-right and election-denying rhetoric. After the third vote, Republicans removed  Jordan as their nominee, leaving them without a clear leader as the Speakership nears three weeks of vacancy. Republicans will resume their efforts to find a speaker on Monday, with an expanded field of candidates. However, Rep. Patrick McHenry from North Carolina could see his powers expanded if the GOP doesn’t come to a consensus at some point so the House can function.

If anything can be learned from these recent events, it is that in our world there is immense pressure to choose a side and if you consistently try to cater to that side, you end up digging yourself into a hole you may not be able to crawl out of. 

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