Commonwealth Policy Center

For the first time in U.S. history, a Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has been voted out. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lost his Speaker’s position after Con. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and seven other Republicans voted to oust him. But they needed the help of 208 Democrats. Gaetz resented McCarthy’s last minute deal to extend the debt ceiling which avoided a partial government shutdown. It’s not surprising that Democrats opposed McCarthy, but why did Republicans? It’s a closely divided body (221 Republicans and 212 Democrats), which is much more challenging to lead. There’s no clear front runner amongst Republicans for the Speakership. While the vitriolic branch of the GOP may have accomplished their short term goal, there will likely be long term costs yet to be seen.