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What’s Going On in the House of Representatives?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

The House of Representatives has been the topic of conversation amongst many news outlets for numerous reasons, including the government shutdown, Republican infighting, and other controversies. Recently, things have come to a head and Kevin McCarthy has been officially ousted as Speaker of the House. 

McCarthy replaced Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House in the 2023 congressional session when Republicans obtained a majority. He is the House Republican Leader. McCarthy’s journey toward becoming Speaker of the House did not start smoothly. He was finally given the speaker’s gavel after 15 ballots. This essentially means that the House of Representatives had to have 15 separate votes before they finally agreed to accept McCarthy as Speaker of the House. 

Recently, throughout September, there has been fear of a federal government shutdown due to infighting among House Republicans preventing Congress from passing spending bills. Essentially, there are arguments over deciding the federal government’s budget. Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on what they want to spend money on and therefore are not passing any bills. If there is no money, then the government shuts down until a resolution is created. A government shutdown could affect national parks, the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to complete food safety inspections, and food assistance programs. McCarthy decided to work with Democrats to hopefully avoid a government shutdown. This decision ended up bringing an end to McCarthy’s reign as Speaker of the House. 

Matt Gaetz, a fellow Republican in the House and a representative of Florida, led the movement to oust McCarthy from his Speaker of the House position. Now you might be thinking: Wait, isn’t McCarthy a Republican too? Why were two Republicans fighting each other? Remember how I mentioned that McCarthy decided to work together with Democrats? That’s why. Gaetz, along with a small handful of Republicans, was angry that McCarthy decided to work with Democrats. Gaetz, eight other Republicans, and 208 Democrats all voted to oust McCarthy, resulting in a 216-210 decision, meaning that the motion to oust McCarthy was successful. 

The reason why this is such a big deal is because this has never happened in United States history. There have been previous attempts to remove Speakers of the House, but they have never been successful until now. Additionally, McCarthy’s time as Speaker of the House was short-lived before he was removed. McCarthy served as Speaker of the House for less than a year before he was ousted. Now, Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, a close ally of McCarthy, serves as Speaker of the House for the time being until a permanent replacement is selected. 

The Speaker of the House plays an important role within our government. They are second in line of presidential succession, they decide which bills are brought to the House floor, they play a negotiating role among the House, Senate, and president, and they serve as the leader of the majority party of the House. Because of this, it’s a position that is constantly sought after and therefore competitive. It will be interesting to see what the House’s next steps are. 

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Hi! I am a student at Florida State University. My pronouns are she/they and I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community! My first and foremost goal is to share information that I feel will benefit everyone and make sure that everyone feels heard and seen.