The drama in Washington will also prove to be a distraction for candidates on the campaign trail, who will be asked to opine on these new developments. (ddp)

The motion to do so was laid on the table by dissidents in the Republican Party within days of the enactment of a continuing resolution (CR) on the budget, which avoided a government shutdown. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) will serve as speaker pro tempore until a new speaker is elected.


Leading candidates to succeed McCarthy include Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), among others. There is no prohibition for a deposed speaker to seek reelection to the post, but McCarthy has already stated he has no interest in seeking the office again. Nor is there a prescribed time limit for a speaker pro term to serve in the interim post, so McHenry might wield the gavel for days to come. There also is no constitutional requirement for a speaker to be an elected member of the House of Representatives. This has led to speculation regarding the possibility of former President Donald Trump being elected to the role. He has denied any interest in seeking the post, and would need nearly unanimous support within the Republican conference, which is highly problematic.


The removal of McCarthy throws a wrench into the timing of budget negotiations as the Republican side of the aisle will need to focus first on leadership elections. Policy differences regarding border protection and military assistance to Ukraine remain persistent policy obstacles. We believe the ouster of McCarthy increases the probability of further delays in reaching a bipartisan compromise with the Senate over these and other issues, and makes a government shutdown in November a realistic possibility. The drama in Washington will also prove to be a distraction for candidates on the campaign trail, who will be asked to opine on these new developments.


Main contributors - Thomas McLoughlin, Brian Rose


Original report - The Speaker has vacated the chair, 4 October 2023.


Also see: Early expectations for the 2024 election