House Republicans Oust Speaker McCarthy, Uncertain Future Ahead

Chloe Whisperwillow

Updated Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 2:35 AM CDT

House Republicans Oust Speaker McCarthy, Uncertain Future Ahead

In a shocking turn of events, a group of far-right Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, joined forces with Democrats to remove Republican Kevin McCarthy from the speakership. This unprecedented move marks the first time in history that a speaker has been removed from office. McCarthy, who announced that he will not run for the speakership again, has left a void in House leadership.

With McCarthy out of the picture, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry has assumed the role of acting speaker. However, it is important to note that McHenry's authority is limited. While he can serve in the temporary role indefinitely, he does not possess the full power of a duly elected speaker. McHenry is unable to bring legislation to the floor, issue subpoenas, or engage in other official House business.

The absence of a clear successor to lead the House Republican majority has further complicated the situation. As a result, the House is currently in recess until both parties can determine a path forward. The first order of business for McHenry, should he be confirmed as the new speaker, would be to oversee the election of a permanent replacement.

House Republicans are currently grappling with the question of who to nominate for the speakership. Some members are considering potential consensus candidates such as Majority Leader Steve Scalise or Whip Tom Emmer. Other names being discussed include Rep. Kevin Hern and Rep. Jim Jordan. It is worth noting that the speaker election can be a lengthy process, as it requires multiple rounds of voting until a candidate receives a majority of those present and voting.

Once a speaker candidate secures a majority of the vote, the clerk will announce the results of the election. However, it remains unclear if the traditional process, including the administration of the oath of office, will be followed in this instance. Typically, the minority leader joins the successor at the speaker's chair, symbolizing a potential future working relationship.

The vote to remove McCarthy has raised questions about the impact on ongoing investigations, particularly the impeachment inquiry into President Biden. House Oversight Chair James Comer has stated that the vote "doesn't change anything" and that they will continue moving forward with the investigation. However, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith believes that the decision is a setback to efforts to impeach Biden.

The conflicting assessments from House Republicans reflect the chaos within the party as they navigate the process of replacing McCarthy. While Comer is determined to follow the money, read emails and text messages, and piece together timelines, Smith fears that the vote will stall their efforts to hold President Biden accountable for his family's business dealings, cut spending, and deliver for working-class Americans.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a vocal opponent of the impeachment inquiry, has dismissed the investigation as "failure theatre." The timing of McCarthy's removal is particularly critical, as a first hearing called by Republicans got off to a rocky start. The top Democrat on the Oversight panel, Jamie Raskin, believes that the GOP has not given much thought to the impeachment inquiry, calling their efforts humiliating and embarrassing.

Adding to the uncertainty surrounding the impeachment inquiry is the fact that McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry without calling for a formal vote. The removal of McCarthy from the speakership could potentially impact the ability of these investigations to proceed smoothly. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has expressed concerns about the lack of a plan regarding the impeachment inquiry.

As the situation continues to unfold, it is clear that the House Republican conference is in disarray. The absence of a clear successor to McCarthy, coupled with conflicting views on the impeachment inquiry, has created a sense of uncertainty and chaos. Only time will tell how this power vacuum will be filled and what it means for the future of House leadership and ongoing investigations.

The rebellious move by a small group of Republicans to oust Speaker McCarthy has left the question of who will succeed him as the new Speaker. Representative Patrick McHenry is one potential candidate, but the future remains uncertain.

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