WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives has made history by voting to remove the Speaker of the House. But the Republican representatives from Illinois were not among those who voted for the ouster of Kevin McCarthy.
The vote was 216-210 with eight Republicans, all members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and all Democrats, voting to oust Kevin McCarthy from his post. The rebellion was led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who was incensed over McCarthy’s deal, just a few days ago, to pass a short-term budget extension that prevented a government shutdown.
Among other things, conservatives were angered that the deal did not include deeper spending cuts. However, most Republicans along with almost every single Democrat, did not support a government shutdown and voted for the budget deal.
Most Republicans also rejected the effort to oust Speaker McCarthy including Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, Rep. Darin LaHood of the 16th, and Rep. Mary Miller of the 15th district. Miller did not support McCarthy in the initial rounds of choosing a Speaker of the House. But she did support him in the 15th vote to make him Speaker on January 7.
Bost issued a statement praising McCarthy’s leadership and listing several GOP victories. He also said Republicans must stop fighting each other, and, in his words, “start taking it to the liberals who voted in lockstep against Kevin McCarthy.”
A statement from LaHood called the removal of Speaker McCarthy “a shameful maneuver” and said it “does a disservice to the American people.” LaHood blamed Democrats for voting against keeping McCarthy as speaker, but he also blamed the eight Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus. He said they were, quote: “more concerned with clicks and soundbites, rather than working to achieve conservative policy victories.”
Miller’s statement also blamed Democrats. “I agree with President Trump that right now, we should be focused on stopping the radical Democrats,” said Miller in a statement to the media.
It is notable that Democrats are the minority party, and they did not offer the motion to vacate, or remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.
So, who will be the next Speaker of the House? For now, the House is under the leadership of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) who was declared Speaker pro tempore. In his first act, he sent the House into recess to allow time to “discuss the path forward.”
That means there will be no votes on Speaker, or on anything else until next week at the earliest.
All the while, the clock is ticking toward a November 17 deadline to pass another budget bill, or the government shutdown scenario will return.