us politics

Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy Will Soon Be Exiting Congress

His own party helped evict him from leadership about two months ago. Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy Will Soon Be Exiting Congress Shutterstock

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Over the course of nine terms, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rose through the ranks of his party’s leadership, ultimately attaining the coveted position of House speaker earlier this year.

Of course, that final step only came after multiple votes fueled by division among fellow Republicans and involved him making some serious concessions along the way. One of them, allowing just one lawmaker to start the process of vacating the speakership, ultimately led to him being ousted from the seat just months later.

Now he’s planning to leave Congress altogether before his current term ends.

His statement

Confirmation of his plans to make an early exit from the House came after recent remarks indicating he was uncertain about whether another re-election bid was in the cards. In the form of a Wall Street Journal op-ed released on Wednesday, he dropped a bombshell that rocked D.C.

“I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways,” he wrote without clarifying what those ways might be. “I know my work is only getting started.”

McCarthy broadly referenced a desire to remain an active participant in Republican politics, including by “lending [his] experience to support the next generation of leaders.”

The ramifications

As McCarthy knew better than anyone, it was difficult for the GOP to advance a cohesive agenda with a razor-thin majority. And now that he’s headed for the exit, that will mean there’s one less vote that House Republicans can afford to lose if they have any hope of passing bills ahead of next year’s election.

That majority already shrank days earlier when Rep. George Santos (R-NY) became just the sixth lawmaker in U.S. history to be voted out of the chamber.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee December 7th, 2023
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