On Thursday, House of Republicans was plunged into chaos with Kevin McCarthy’s announced that he was dropping out of the speaker’s race. The California Representative was considered favorite to succeed current speaker John Boehner. The move came as a surprise to everyone as a closed-door meeting was being held by House Republicans for choosing their nominee for speaker. McCarthy made the announcement in presence of his wife and children and the vote was subsequently postponed by Boehner. Speaking to the reporters after, McCarthy said that he had probably shocked everyone. John Boehner will be submitting his resignation by the end of this month.
So far, no clear successor has come out who can win the post by overcoming the divisions within the party. On Wednesday, Daniel Webster, a long-shot candidate was endorsed by a group of influential conservatives, which had created doubt in McCarthy’s ability in winning the House floor vote. McCarthy said that they needed a new face for uniting the party and giving it strength and he wasn’t interested in just winning with enough votes. An unnamed source close to McCarthy said that the decision was purely made on numbers; he could have scrapped up enough to win the conference vote, but getting the 218 needed for locking the speakership was doubtful.
This sheds doubt on the leadership of House GOP and comes just a month before action should be taken by Congress for raising the debt ceiling to prevent the US from defaulting on their debt obligations. This is an important vote that conservatives have stalled in the past for getting the Democrats to make concessions. Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader said that the House Republicans should increase the debt ceiling as the party’s inability to govern shouldn’t threaten the economic livelihood of the US citizens.
Last week, McCarthy’s candidacy had encountered some problems when he suggested that the select committee of the House on Benghazi was just a way to damage poll numbers of Hilary Clinton. Late last week, Jason Chaffez had also joined the Speaker’s race and said that he was shocked, surprised and stunned at the announcement. He said that he would continue campaigning for the top post as the House needed somebody who could unite the party and do their job. In a statement, Boehner said that he would stay in his post until a new speaker was chosen. He had announced that he would leave Congress last month.
However, he didn’t announce a new date for the vote. A scheduled appearance for ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ was also cancelled by Boehner. Several people were of the opinion that McCarthy’s decision left the race for speaker open. Members had no clue of what was going to happen and they were also taken by surprise. The Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Paul Ryan, had also been seen as a contender, but he said that while he appreciated the encouragement, he was happy with his role and had no intention of becoming the House Speaker.