The House of Representatives is in a state of crisis after Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by a vote of 216 to 210 on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
This was the first time in U.S. history that a speaker was removed by a motion to vacate, which was brought by Rep. Matt Gaetz, a conservative critic of McCarthy1.
Gaetz also blamed McCarthy for cutting a deal with Democrats to fund the government for another 45 days, which angered some of the hard-right members of the GOP
The House is now without a speaker, which means it cannot pass any legislation or respond to any emergencies until a new speaker is elected.
The House has a temporary speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, who can only perform administrative duties1.
The Republicans have a four-vote majority in the House, but they need 218 votes to elect a new speaker. This means they have to find a candidate who can win the support of both the moderate and the conservative factions of the party, which is not an easy task2.
Some of the potential candidates for the speakership are Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip; Rep. Liz Cheney, the chair of the House Republican Conference; and Rep. Jim Jordan, the founder of the House Freedom Caucus2. However, none of them have officially declared their intention to run, and they may face opposition from different groups within the GOP.
The House speaker chaos has stunned lawmakers, frayed relationships, and roiled the political landscape. It has also raised doubts about whether anyone can keep the Republican caucus in line enough to carry out the basic functions of the House — or if chaos will continue regardless of who’s in the speaker’s chair3.
The House speaker is not only the leader of the majority party, but also the second in line to the presidency after the vice president.
The House speaker chaos could also affect you and other Americans in various ways.
For example, it could delay or derail some of the important issues that Congress needs to address, such as keeping the government open beyond November 17, providing additional aid to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, and passing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda1.
It could also affect how Congress responds to any unforeseen crises or challenges that may arise in the near future.
To amplify information: