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The Race to Replace

The House of Representatives has been subject to a political frenzy this past week with spending bill mania and historic leadership changes of the lower chamber’s upper echelons. 

Due to the Speaker of the House’s position change, presidential succession is now at risk, as the House Speaker sits third-in-line for the presidency.

Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been ousted for caving and spending where many House Republicans thought it unnecessary in multiple appropriations bills.

The main concern which launched McCarthy out of his seat was his backpedaling on Ukraine funding. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) led the charge to oust McCarthy, presenting the removal resolution himself.

Gaetz claims McCarthy duped House Republicans about funding Ukraine to try and win Senate approval on the spending bills, instead of applying political pressure, like a strong congressman should do.

“The first thing Gaetz said on the House floor Monday, when he suggested his motion to oust McCarthy would be coming soon was, ‘What was the secret side deal on Ukraine?’

“Citing a comment President Biden made Sunday, Gaetz accused McCarthy of making a ‘secret deal’ to provide more funding for Ukraine in a separate measure, which many Republicans oppose. Continuing to provide support for Ukraine has divided House Republicans — last week, a supplemental funding bill for Ukraine had more GOP opposition than support, with 117 Republicans voting against it and 101 voting for it,” according to CBS News.

Another spark for putting McCarthy’s out was not only Ukraine funding, but Ukraine funding which violated an agreement lawmakers had made in order to propel McCarthy to Speaker after a long stalemate vote. 

Caving to the demands of the Democrat-controlled Senate and a portion of House Republicans who support Ukraine funding was in violation of the agreement McCarthy had made with conservative GOP members. 

As expected, Gaetz and the conservative lawmakers who had made McCarthy’s position possible promptly removed him from office, with hundreds of other Republicans wishing for more effective leadership.

After the ousting, the House’s primary focus is now choosing a new Speaker of the House who will defend GOP interests and ensure Republicans are the ones to manufacture political pressure, rather than  cave into it.

Two major candidates have been put forth for the House Speakership thus far: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the current House Majority Leader, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Chairman for the House Judiciary Committee.

The two candidates are big proponents of GOP values and resist breaking under political pressure. One could say, neither are afraid to go on the offense.

Both Scalise and Jordan are proper choices for policy, but their interests  somewhat differ: establishment vs. populist, respectively.

Knowing the federal government’s ability and tendency to derail, Jordan has vowed to lead the House against any radical government spending.

“Mr. Jordan, however, is far more of a firebrand, and has become a favourite among the Republican base for his distrust of the federal government…” according to BBC News.

While many believe Rep. Jordan to be wholly capable of pushing the GOP back on track and handling government funding, House Republicans also must decide on Rep. Steve Scalise’s ability, since becoming House Speaker would be a natural act of progression for the experienced lawmaker.

As sidings take place, the House of Representatives has planned to hold a vote on Tuesday for a new Speaker, and many are prepared to vote for whoever the majority chooses, which Rep. Ann Magner told The New York Times

“We need unity and we need leadership … We should all be prepared to support the nominee who the majority chooses.”

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