Although they have some different political views, U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman was still firmly in the camp of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, when a historic motion to vacate his position as U.S. House speaker Tuesday.
When the dust settled, it wasn’t enough to save McCarthy’s job, as he was voted out of the speakership 216-210, the first time a speaker has been removed in U.S. history.
Hageman said in a Tuesday statement there’s more urgent issues the House could be dealing with than replacing the speaker.
“There are far too many pressing concerns facing this nation for Congress to be pulled into such a self-serving stunt as one member is selfishly trying to torpedo the business of the House,” she said.
"For at least seven days there will be no movement on single subject appropriations bills. Government funding runs out in 43 days," Hageman later tweeted.
The motion to remove McCarthy was brought by Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, one of the most hardline conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus.
Although Hageman also is a member of the Freedom Caucus, her vote to retain McCarthy separates her from some of the most hard-right members of her party.
Other Issues More Important
Hageman said issues like the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, the immigration situation at the southern border and the persistently high inflation rate should take precedence over Republican infighting.
“There’s nothing Democrats and the media like better than Republican-on-Republican infighting, and this distraction focuses all attention on that, rather than on the serious issues at hand,” she said.
According to NBC News, McCarthy had submitted a list to the House clerk in January of names to replace him in the event he is removed from his chair.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-North Carolina, is at the top of this list and will be the temporary replacement for McCarthy under House rules and will serve in that role in an acting capacity until a permanent speaker is chosen.
This is a different situation than in January, when the House started a new session and could not start any legislative business until a speaker was elected and rules passed.
The House has 43 days to pass eight appropriation bills or face a government shutdown. On Saturday, Congress passed a temporary funding bill that keeps the government open until mid-November at current spending levels. Hageman opposed the stopgap funding measure, while Wyoming Republican Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis voted to support it.
“I am focused on continuing to pass good legislation to secure our border, reduce our national debt, lower energy costs, and put parents back in charge of their children’s education,” Hageman said.
Liz Cheney Next Up?
There have been some rumblings on Capitol Hill that former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney could be nominated to be the next speaker, as House rules say the speaker doesn’t have to be a sitting member of the House.
ABC News reported that New York Democratic congressman Dan Goldman said he was contacted by Cheney before Tuesday’s vote to oust McCarthy and told him that Democrats should "get rid" of McCarthy.
Every Democratic member of the House voted to remove McCarthy.
PoliticsVideoChannel reported Monday that six Republicans and six Democrats said Cheney is being considered as a compromise candidate for both parties. The speaker needs to win support from the entire House.
One of the more obvious reasons that Democrats didn’t support McCarthy was because of his continuing loyalty to former President Donald Trump and his base of hard-right MAGA supporters in the House, and his vote to support the Biden impeachment inquiry.
McCarthy and Cheney have been at odds since they split ways over their loyalty to Trump. Cheney has consistently opposed the former president and served as the vice chair of the United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, a committee that both Trump and McCarthy opposed.
McCarthy also helped remove Cheney from her leadership positions in the House in 2021.
If Cheney is nominated to be the next speaker, Hageman told Cowboy State Daily that she “may find support from the same Democrats she was calling to urge the ouster of Speaker McCarthy.”
Cheney is scheduled to give a speech at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday night, where she may discuss some of thesepolitical developments.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.