House Speaker Kevin McCarthy planted the seeds of his own downfall in his January 2023 concessions – DAVID RAUDALES

DAVID RAUDALES

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DAVID RAUDALES UK

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy planted the seeds of his own downfall in his January 2023 concessions

U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rubs his face during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

To become speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy was forced to make several concessions.
He agreed to change House rules to allow any member to bring a motion to vacate the speakership.
Less than a year later, the decision is already coming back to haunt him.

About nine months after getting elected as speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy’s days as the top Republican in Congress’ lower chamber appear to be numbered.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to him, though, after he personally sacrificed any chance of stability to attain the speakership in the first place.

In January, just a few short months after an election where Republicans just barely gained majority control of the House of Representatives, McCarthy had emerged as the frontrunner to become the next House speaker. And while he clearly had the most support in the conference, his path to getting the role was anything but typical.

Traditionally, it only takes one ballot and less than one day to elect a speaker, and the victor only needs a simple majority vote to ascend to the speakership. In McCarthy’s case, however, it took the House several prolonged days and fifteen votes to ultimately narrowly elect him.

McCarthy’s ascension to becoming the speaker of the House didn’t come without a cost. It came with several concessions to win over enough Republican holdouts.

In addition to agreeing to disallow members from voting via proxy, limitations on spending bills, and bringing back a 19th-century rule allowing legislators to reduce the salaries of federal employees, McCarthy made a key concession that’s finally come back to haunt him: allowing any single House member to file a “motion to vacate” in an attempt to boot him from his seat.

There is congressional precedent for making it so simple to start such deliberations as it was the standard modus operandi for more than a century before House Democrats adjusted the rules under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the process more difficult to initiate by preventing the motions from moving forward unless they were filed “by direction of a party caucus or conference.”

Approximately nine months after he agreed to switch back to the “single-vote” method to offer a motion to vacate, a lone Republican has taken the opportunity and done it.

After McCarthy relied on congressional Democrats in September to reach a solution to temporarily keep the government funded, GOP firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz filed such a motion to begin the process of removing McCarthy from his leadership position.

A simple majority in the House composed of the entire Democratic caucus and 11 Republicans have already voted to allow the motion to vacate to move forward, where it will likely be voted on Tuesday afternoon.

If a simple majority of House members vote in favor, McCarthy will be removed from the post and replaced with a temporary, unknown speaker to preside over the chamber until a new speaker is formally elected.

Though the possibility still remains that enough of the rebel GOP members renege and vote McCarthy in as speaker once again despite their frustrations, with a looming government shutdown and presidential impeachment proceedings on the horizon, whoever gains control of the office will face an uphill climb to stay in power and allow the government to function as intended. 

Read the original article on Business Insider