On Tuesday, the far-right wing of the Republican party blocked Kevin McCarthy’s path toward becoming the new House Speaker.
The revolt within the GOP played out publicly, as members of the House Freedom Caucus addressed a list of grievances they have against the representative of California’s 20th District. In total, 19 Republicans voted against McCarthy, leaving him with only 202 votes. McCarthy needs 218 votes to capture the second in line for the Presidency.
The Democrats’ leader Hakeem Jeffries obtained 211 votes.
Tuesday’s developments mark the first time since the Civil War that a political party will need to hold multiple votes to elect a House Speaker. All business of the House will be postponed until one is chosen.
Many of the 19 Republicans that did not side themselves in the McCarthy camp had voted for challenger Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona). However, McCarthy was able to sway Rep. Ben Cline (VA), Rep. Clay Higgins (LA), Rep. Mike Collins (GA), all of which are members of the House Freedom Caucus.
Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told reporters, If you want to drain the swamp you can’t put the biggest alligator in control of the exercise.”
Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said “He eagerly dismissed us,” referring to a list of demands detractors had put in front of McCarthy.
One main demand of those who stood against McCarthy was to reinstated a House rule that allows a single representative to “motion to vacate the chair.” Simply put, this rule would allow a representative to call for a vote to remove the speaker.
McCarthy had agreed to a modified version of the rule, saying the rule would require at least five representatives to call for a vote.