In a historic precedent, the first of its kind, the US House of Representatives announced yesterday (Tuesday) the removal of its Republican Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, after the members of the House voted on a draft of no confidence in him.
McCarthy was ousted from the presidency of the House of Representatives after 216 representatives voted on the procedures for his removal, including eight Republican representatives, compared to 210 representatives who voted in favor of his retention.
After announcing the vacancy of the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives and McCarthy continuing to run the job until a new president nominated by Republicans is elected, the House of Representatives announced the appointment of Patrick McHenry as interim Speaker.
Before the voting session on McCarthy’s removal, council members voted in favor of moving forward with the procedures for voting on the removal, rejecting the request to postpone or cancel the vote.
The withdrawal of confidence from McCarthy came against the backdrop of his ability to narrowly avoid a partial government shutdown, by passing a bill that had the support of a larger number of Democrats than Republicans.
The ousted Speaker of the House of Representatives had previously announced his intention to hold a vote on his removal, explaining that he had told members of his party that he would not make a deal with the Democrats to save his position.
McCarthy said in television statements yesterday, “I took a risk last week. I kept the government open so that families, our soldiers, and border guards could receive their salaries,” adding, “If a handful of Republicans want to side with the Democrats to remove me from my position for this reason, then this is a battle worth fighting.”
He asked, “Will I be removed because four or five Republicans joined the Democrats?” I mean, this is the question?”, indicating that he is optimistic and confident that he will survive the isolation.
The hard-line Republican representative from Florida, Matt Gaetz, submitted a memorandum yesterday (Monday) to force a vote on McCarthy’s impeachment after he passed, with the help of Democrats, a temporary package to finance the federal government that spared Washington a government shutdown, amid opposition from members of his party.
Republicans control the House of Representatives with a simple majority of 221 votes compared to 212 for Democrats, but McCarthy’s chances of survival diminished after the Democrats announced that they would not save him in a vote launched by representatives described as extremists within the Republican Party to which he belongs to oust him.
McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives last January after 15 rounds of voting within the House and arduous negotiations, as a result of disagreements between supporters of former President Donald Trump, to assume the third most important position after the country’s president and vice president.