This past Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, Kevin McCarthy was fired from his position as Speaker of the House. His firing was led by members of his own republican party who were unhappy with his attempts to stop a government shutdown. Eight members of the republican party, along with 208 Democrats voted to oust McCarthy sending the House of Representatives into a chaotic situation that has not been seen in over 100 years.
The motion to vacate McCarthy was started by Representative Matt Gaetz, who is a Republican from Florida. Gaetz’s motion stems from McCarthy’s attempts to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government running. The House of Representatives had not yet sorted out the budget for the upcoming year, so the government was set to shut down. The House of Representatives had been trying to create a budget for the government for a long time, but no agreement had been reached, so McCarthy took matters into his own hands to prevent a shutdown. Members of his own parties felt that they and the American people had been wronged by the speaker’s actions and wanted him out of his position. McCarthy and this small faction in his own party had been at odds with one another since his election as speaker, and this faction had always been trying to find a way to get him out. This faction believed that McCarthy was siding with the Democrats, and they hated the thought of that. Gaetz and his far-right faction have divided the House of Representatives and even the Republican Party. The House of Representatives is unable to do anything until a new speaker is elected.
On the matter of McCarthy’s successor, Representative Patrick T. McHenry from North Carolina was named by McCarthy to be a potential interim speaker. For now, he will preside over the election of a new speaker but does not have the power of the speaker. A few republican representatives have been named as potential candidates such as Rep. Patrick McHenry and Rep. Tom Cole, but nobody has been elected yet. No plan for a successor has been made yet, and the House of Representatives is currently in recess. The Republican party will regroup and put forth a candidate, and the house will vote on said candidate who could potentially be elected as the next Speaker of the House.
This political play to oust McCarthy by Gaetz is extremely controversial and rare. This is the first time in a century a Speaker of the House has been fired, so now the whole nation has to just sit and wait anxiously as the House of Representatives figures it out.