The Speaker of the House Debacle

By Diego Mantelli

October 3, 2023, is a date that changed history. 

A week prior, then-speaker Kevin McCarthy passed a last minute spending bill to prevent a government shutdown, relying on votes from both sides of the aisle to pass the bill. Going through the senate and the executive with bipartisan support, the bill prevented a total government shutdown

The bipartisan nature of the bill infuriated a select group of far right politicians, one of which, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, decided he was done with McCarthy, and introduced a motion to vacate the speakership. On October 3rd, the motion passed, with all democrats and 8 republicans voting yes to vacate the speakership. For the first time in the history of the United States, the Speaker of the House had been removed from his/her position.

As Mcarthy left the chamber floor in the chaos after the vote, Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina walked up to the podium, and announced he had been appointed as Speaker in the absence of McCarthy, and called for a recess in order for parties to nominate candidates for the Speakership. 

The democrats very quickly nominated Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York as their candidate, however the republicans took a little longer, going through one round of voting, with Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana winning the nomination against representative Jim Jordan of Ohio. However, several republicans publicly announced they would not vote for Scalise on the congress floor. Scalise dropped out of the race shortly, citing health issues and partisan divide. 

Shortly after that, the republican conference came together once more to vote for a candidate, and after one round of voting, Representative Jim Jordan won the nomination, and decided to take a vote to the congress floor. After 3 votes, which progressively got worse for Jordan, house republicans voted to remove Jordan as the republican nominee 112-86.

With two candidates failing to get the ballot, the republican conference reconvened to decide on a new candidate. After 5 rounds of voting, Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota received the nomination. However, after several politicians brought to light his “disloyalty” to Former President Trump, he was shortly removed as republican nominee.

As the three week mark grew closer, house republicans felt the pressure growing, especially in light of the recent outbreak of fighting in Israel. In the 4th reconvention of the republican conference, after three rounds of voting, house republicans voted to nominate representative Mike Johnson as the speaker nominee. In a vote for who would vote for Johnson on the house floor, every republican representative voted yes. Once nominated on the house floor, representative Johnson won the gavel with unanimous republican support, something not even McCarthy could achieve. 

After 4 rounds of voting, 4 republican nominees, and three weeks, the house finally has a speaker, a speaker who believes dinosaurs accompanied Noah on his ark, and is against abortion and same sex marriage.