The resignation of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took effect Sunday, leaving Republicans with a slim 220-213 majority over Democrats after the ouster of George Santos (R-NY) earlier in December.
McCarthy gave a farewell speech on the House floor on December 14.
McCarthy's resignation letter to Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA):
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's resignation from Congress became effective today.
– Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) December 31, 2023
Video of McCarthy's farewell speech to Congress:
McCarthy, 58, served as House speaker for nine months, after an October 3 vote on an eviction motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) passed by a vote of 216 to 210, with eight Republicans joining all Democrats. .
CBS News reported on Gaetz's comments about voting (excerpts):
“The reason Kevin McCarthy fell today is because no one trusts Kevin McCarthy,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida told reporters after the vote. “Kevin McCarthy made many contradictory promises, and when they all came true, he lost the votes of people who might not agree with me ideologically on everything.”
“This is ripping off the band-aid and this is what we have to do to get back on track,” the Florida Republican added.
Besides Gaetz, seven Republicans voted to oust McCarthy: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
A day earlier, Gaetz accused McCarthy of making a “secret side deal” with President Biden over helping Ukraine get through a short-term funding bill hours before the government shutdown. The California Republican denied making any deal in exchange for Democratic votes.
The beginning of the end for McCarthy began in the spring when he abandoned budget deficit negotiations with Joe Biden and the Democrats for nothing in return, giving Biden unlimited borrowing power during his final two years in office. .
A majority of the American people supported the Republican position of spending cuts rather than the Democrats' position of an unlimited debt ceiling. However, McCarthy gave Democrats unlimited debt spending.
19% believe the debt limit should be increased without conditions, while 63% want to include conditions for reducing the federal budget deficit. https://t.co/yzHSm0dkDh pic.twitter.com/0mbCjfAWb9
— AP-NORC (@APNORC) May 19, 2023
McCarthy's end came after he rallied House conservatives with a last-minute 45-day budget deal passed with Democratic support to keep the government open at the end of September.
McCarthy was first elected to the House in 2007. As speaker, he reopened the Capitol to the public after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) closed it due to the pandemic. McCarthy also got rid of proxy voting and metal detectors at the doors of the House chamber that Pelosi had set up.
McCarthy announced his resignation on December 6 in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (excerpt):
I am optimistic. How could I not be? I am the son of a firefighter. She served for 17 years in the same seat in Congress, the same office where she was once barred from training. Only in America.
She helped lead Republicans to the House majority, twice. More Republican women, veterans and minorities have been elected to Congress at one time than ever before. I cheerfully persevered when I was elected president because I knew what we could accomplish.
Even by razor-thin margins in the House, we have passed legislation to secure borders, achieve energy independence, reduce crime, hold government accountable, and create a Parents' Bill of Rights. We did exactly what we said we would do.
We kept our eyes on America's long-term global challenges by restoring the Intelligence Committee to its original charter and creating a bipartisan Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.
…It is in this spirit that I have decided to leave the House of Representatives at the end of this year to serve America in new ways. I know my work has only just begun.
I will continue to recruit our country's best and brightest to run for elected office. The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to offering my experience to support the next generation of leaders.