The president of the US House of Representatives, Republican Kevin McCarthy, speaks to the press on October 3, 2023 at the Capitol, headquarters of the US Congress, in Washington (EFE/Jim Lo Scalzo)
Republican Kevin McCarthy was removed this Tuesday as leader of the United States House of Representatives following a motion against him presented by a member of his own party in retaliation for concessions made to Democrats.
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The resolution, introduced on Monday by ultra-conservative Matt Gaetz, was approved by 216 votes in favor and 210 against, making history as it is the first time that a motion of this type has passed.
McCarthy will be replaced on an interim basis by fellow Republican Patrick McHenry, representative of North Carolina’s 10th district.
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Gaetz, opposed from the beginning to McCarthy’s nomination as leader, had threatened for months to activate the process to remove him from office and that threat accelerated last weekend, after McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to push through the law that extended the Administration’s financing on key issues for 45 days and thus avoided a Government shutdown.
Matt Gaetz is part of the “Freedom Caucus”, the wing of the Republican Party most sympathetic to former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
Although McCarthy announced this Tuesday that he was confident that he had enough support to continue leading, his luck began to go wrong when the leader of the Democratic minority, Hakeem Jeffries, instructed the members of his caucus to vote to revoke him.
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Since the midterm elections last November, the conservatives have 221 seats in that chamber and the Democrats 212. The motion needed to be approved by a simple majority.
Activating the motion of censure only required that it be promoted by a legislator, whether Democrat or Republican, and that this vote reach a simple majority. As there are two vacancies in the House of Representatives, that figure stood at 217 votes.
Only two other presidents of the House of Representatives in the last century have been submitted to a motion against them, both without success: against the also Republicans Joseph Cannon in 1910 and John Boehner in 2015. On that last occasion it was not submitted. to vote, but its presentation was a trigger for Boehner’s resignation months later.
The rules of the House of Representatives establish that it is the president of the House who must draw up a list of his possible substitutes in case his position is declared vacant. This list is made public only if this situation is met and the chosen person acts on an interim basis until the new leader is elected.
(With information from EFE)