Legislative Update: Speaker McCarthy Ousted

Following a tumultuous series of events last week which culminated in the passage of a short-term extension of current federal funding, a group of House Republicans moved this week to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his leadership position. 

Kevin McCarthy Removed From Leadership Role

Earlier this week a small group of conservative House lawmakers, primarily members of the House Freedom Caucus led by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), introduced a motion to vacate on Monday, October 2 – a formal legislative measure that ejects the sitting Speaker of the House from this position. As a reminder, in order to become Speaker earlier this year, Kevin McCarthy was forced to give a number of concessions related to the House’s rules to this group of conservative lawmakers given the extremely narrow margin of control in the chamber. Among these concessions was a rule change that allows any single Republican member to introduce a motion to vacate. This rule change has given rank-and-file members in the House enormous control over the legislative process this year given they could threaten to oust the Speaker with this procedural measure.  

Ostensibly this group of lawmakers, which has been seeking significant domestic spending reductions including for education and workforce programs, was upset with Speaker McCarthy because he introduced legislation last week, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to temporarily extend current federal fiscal year 2023 funding through November 17. This action was at odds with this group’s preferred vision for FY24 funding. The motion to vacate was passed by the full House chamber by a margin of 216-210 — an unprecedented move that formally removed Speaker McCarthy from office on Tuesday afternoon. Shortly after the vote, McCarthy announced that he would not seek to be renominated for the position.

In the interim, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has replaced McCarthy on an acting basis until the House elects a new Speaker. Speaker Pro Tempore McHenry adjourned the House shortly after the vote and is expected to bring lawmakers back to DC next week. House Republicans are expected to convene early next week to formally consider several candidates that are currently vying for the Speaker position including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH). Advance CTE is monitoring this process closely and will provide future updates for implications for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community as efforts to elect a new Speaker unfold.  

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

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