(MENAFN- Asia Times) The US House of Representatives on October 3, 2023, did something that had never been done before in the nation's history: It ousted the speaker of the House . Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, lost his job in a vote of 216 to 210. (In breaking news, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, number two in MaCarthy's Republican leadership team, and far-right firebrand Jim Jordan of Ohio have confirmed that they are seeking the post .)
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and then-Oversight and Reform Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan spoke to reporters on October 29, 2019, about the process in the impeachment inquiry of then-President Donald Trump. The two are now facing off to replace Kavin McCarthy as speaker of the House. Photo: C-SPAN
To look deeper than the surface machinations, The Conversation US spoke with political scientist Charles R. Hunt at Boise State University. He offers a sense of what this historic development might mean for the government at the moment, as well as for American democracy over the longer term.
What does the ouster say about the House's ability to function, such as to pass a new budget in the next 45 days?
It's important to remember what the purpose of the speaker of the House is: to literally speak for the entire House, to guide legislation through. It's an unruly chamber of 435 members .
So what you need, ideally, is someone who has the trust of the chamber – particularly of their own party, since the majority party at least traditionally has unilateral control over the business of the House. So both trust and party discipline are conducive to a smoothly functioning legislative process.
When Americans think of a functioning democracy, they might think of bills getting passed on time, of Congress getting things done. But voters of all party affiliations are frustrated by the gridlock here, particularly over the past decade or two .
The interesting thing about this situation with the speakership is that gridlock has traditionally been between the two parties. Right now, it's within one party.
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.