McCarthy Says He Won't Run for Speaker Again

Historic ouster leaves House in disarray
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 6:24 PM CDT
What's Next After McCarthy Ouster
Rep. Kevin McCarthy leaves the House floor after being ousted as Speaker of the House at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker is a first in US history—and it's left the chamber leaderless and in disarray. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry was named interim speaker after the 216-210 vote but the House will be "paralyzed" until a successor is chosen, the New York Times reports. Both parties will now hold meetings to choose nominees for speaker. McCarthy, who was speaker for 269 days, told colleagues Tuesday evening that he would not seek to reclaim the gavel, reports the AP. More:

  • Why McHenry? McHenry, a close McCarthy ally, was apparently first on the list of replacements McCarthy had submitted under a post 9/11 law aimed at avoiding a vacancy in the role, the Guardian reports. McHenry, who represents a district in North Carolina, slammed the gavel down hard as he declared the House to be in recess.

  • Possible replacements. Vox reports that the three contenders seen as likeliest to replace McCarthy are Rep. Steve Scalise, the GOP majority leader; Rep. Tom Emmer, the majority whip; and Rep. Elise Stefanik, the conference chair. All three have expressed support for McCarthy and it's not clear whether any of them would accept the nomination. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the push to get rid of McCarthy, has spoken in support of Scalise.
  • Jeffries wants to get Republicans on board. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic nominee for speaker in January, said he hoped some Republicans would work with Democrats after McCarthy's ousting,the Washington Post reports. "It is our hope that traditional Republicans will walk away from MAGA extremism and join us in partnership for the good of the country," he said.

  • The eight GOP rebels. The Hill looks at the eight Republican lawmakers who voted with Democrats to doom McCarthy's speakership. They include Rep. Tim Burchett, who said McCarthy had "belittled his religion" in a phone call asking Burchett to support him. "The Bible is pretty clear about God being mocked, so that's what sealed it right there for me," Burchett said.
  • Biden hopes House will move fast. In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden hopes the House will elect a new speaker quickly "because the urgent challenges facing our nation will not wait," the Guardian reports. "Once the House has met their responsibility to elect a Speaker, he looks forward to working together with them and with the Senate to address the American peoples' priorities," the statement said.
(Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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