Local Federal Lawmakers Provide Reactions to McCarthy Ouster From Speaker of the House

By Benjamin Cox on October 5, 2023 at 7:28am

The U.S. House historically removed Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday.

The mutiny was led by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, after McCarthy averted a government shutdown by putting a stopgap measure on the floor that garnered Democratic support. The group of GOP lawmakers, some of whom are in the Freedom Caucus, were angry with McCarthy for striking an agreement with President Joe Biden in May over the debt ceiling and for relying on Democratic votes to pass the short-term government spending bill to avert the shutdown.

In the final 216-210 vote, seven Republicans joined Gaetz to unseat McCarthy. Every Democrat in the chamber also voted to boot McCarthy, refusing to help protect him from his unruly conference. McCarthy had previously said he would give Democrats nothing if they were to vote to help him retain the seat.

13th District Illinois Democrat Nikki Budzinski said in a release statement on Tuesday that she voted with fellow Democrats because McCarthy “has shown no interest in stopping the chaos and drama or finding bipartisan solutions. He is not fit to serve as Speaker of the House.”

North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry was declared Speaker pro tempore. McCarthy has said he won’t run again for Speaker.

15th District Illinois Republican Mary Miller voted with Republicans to keep McCarthy saying in a released statement that she did not want a “coalition government” despite voting against McCarthy 15 times earlier this year. She said she was not interested in a coalition with Democratic leaders because it would end the Biden impeachment process and any reform of the Department of Justice, which she says is unlawfully targeting former president Donald Trump.

In a follow-up comment on Wednesday, Miller said she would be putting her support behind Ohio Republican Jim Jordan to become the next House Speaker. Jordan as well as former president Donald Trump have been floated as potential successors to McCarthy. Trump, however, may be ineligible under House Republicans’ own rules which clearly says that a member of Republican leadership must step aside if they have been “indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.”

16th District Illinois Republican Darin LaHood, an ardent McCarthy supporter from the beginning, called it a shameful maneuver and a disservice to the American people that would hinder the Republican agenda. LaHood says the minority of hard-line Republicans pushing McCarthy out are more concerned with “clicks and sound bytes” rather than working on policy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky urged House Republicans to do away with the motion to vacate yesterday, saying it makes doing business that much more difficult.