In recent years, many political commentators and observers have noted the unprecedented times we live in. Whether it’s the 2020 election or the ‘January 6th’ incident, we have seen unusual things happen in Washington. Now, with the removal of the House Speaker, our government has plunged further into chaos.
California Republican Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the speakership on October 3rd. This was a long time coming after many threats of removal from Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz. For context, after 15 failed attempts to win the speakership in January, McCarthy negotiated a compromise with the far-right flank of his party to secure their votes. One important part of the deal was that one member of the House could call a motion to oust the speaker whenever they wanted. This concession would soon haunt McCarthy as he was taunted with the threat of removal several times before it became a reality on the third of October.
The motion originated from McCarthy daring to work with House Democrats to bypass the ultra-conservative holdouts in his party. These far-right Republicans had been holding their votes and threatening to shut down the government after budget legislation didn’t make enough cuts to federal spending. Gaetz threatened McCarthy with a motion to vacate if he made a deal with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution, keeping the government open until November. Once McCarthy passed the resolution with Democratic votes, Gaetz motioned to vacate the speaker, and McCarthy was ousted with eight votes from his party and 208 votes from Democrats.
The House plunged into chaos as it struggled to find a replacement speaker. Republican Jim Jordan made three unsuccessful runs for speaker. Republican Patrick McHenry, who served as the interim speaker of the House, was also suggested to run for speaker. After the nearly month-long stint, Representative Mike Johnson of Lousianna was narrowly elected as speaker of the House on the 25th. In a House so deeply divided, it is yet to be seen whether it will get past the budget talks or if we will witness yet another shutdown.