The House has removed its speaker for the first time in history.
On Tuesday, Democrats, along with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and his few conservative supporters, voted to remove Kevin McCarthy from his position of power. It is uncertain who will take over for McCarthy in the long run, but his allies anticipate that he will attempt to run for speaker again and his fellow members have promised to stand by him.
Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), a supporter of McCarthy, stated that they are content with prolonging the process for however long it may take. He also mentioned that they will continue to stand by the speaker for as long as he requires their support.
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Kevin McCarthy for as long as he remains in the running.
The House clerk declared that Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) would serve as a temporary speaker right after the vote ended. McHenry was chosen from a confidential list of individuals handpicked by McCarthy. The ally of the Californian will possess all the powers of a regularly elected speaker. There are various uncertainties surrounding the acting speaker, as House regulations do not explicitly state when a new speaker election would be required.
McCarthy was opposed by eight members of the Republican party, including Representatives Eli Crane (Arizona), Ken Buck (Colorado), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Matt Rosendale (Montana), Matt Gaetz (Florida), Bob Good (Virginia), Nancy Mace (South Carolina), and Tim Burchett (Tennessee).
Three leaders in the House have been suggested as potential long-term replacements: Steve Scalise (R-La.) for Majority Leader, Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) for Whip, and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) for Conference Chair. However, all three have publicly stated that they have no desire to replace McCarthy. This could potentially change now that McCarthy has officially stepped down.
McCarthy’s long-running troubles with his right flank became a full-fledged rebellion in recent days after he called up a stopgap spending patch on Saturday that averted a shutdown without imposing any of the spending cuts or conservative border policies that he’d vowed to push. More Democrats than Republicans voted for that short-term spending bill, essentially guaranteeing the conservative pushback against the speaker.
The House has not attempted to remove a speaker since 1910, and no such attempt has been successful in the past.