Congressman Neal weighs in after Kevin McCarthy is removed as House Speaker

We hear from one local lawmaker who was in the House chambers following the fallout of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 8:40 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - We hear from one local lawmaker who was in the House chambers following the fallout of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Congressman Richard Neal spoke with Western Mass News just moments after that historic vote.

Congressman Richard Neal told us he’s seen plenty of history in the making during his tenure on Capitol Hill, including three presidential impeachments and nine Speakers of the House, but he said this moment was one he initially didn’t foresee.

It was a historic day in our nation’s capitol, for the first time ever, a Speaker of the House ousted.

“The office of Speaker of the House of the United State House of Representatives is hereby declared vacant,” said Representative Steve Womack.

Kevin McCarthy voted out of the job on Tuesday after days-long tension stemming from criticism the Speaker faced over his decision to work with democrats to prevent a government shutdown.

After 269 days as Speaker, the final vote came down to 216-210 in favor of the motion to “vacate the chair.”

Western Mass News spoke with one local lawmaker with a front-row seat to the proceeding as they unfolded.

“I thought the mood was fairly somber since it was 113 years ago the last time a mechanism like this was employed to remove the Speaker of the House but this is the first time it ever succeeded,” added Rep. Neal. “The enormous responsibility we have in a moment like this was on my mind as well.”

Representative Richard Neal joining fellow democrats in the vote against McCarthy.

“For him to try to blame democrats for a government shutdown he, in fact, would have been apart of,” noted Rep. Neal. “The agreement he reached with Joe Biden on the debt ceiling issue is one he should have held, instead he tried to walk it back and I think that further curtailed the trust that is essential in the legislative branch.”

Now, Congress finds itself in unchartered waters, the House must find a new Speaker and McCarthy’s successor isn’t obvious.

But without a speaker, Representative Neal said congress may find themselves at a standstill.

“There’s questions on whether or not the House of Representatives can proceed and what that means for the committee structures of the house,” said. Rep. Neal.

Congressman Patrick McHenry from North Carolina will temporarily step in as Speaker but House rules are unclear on exactly what the role looks like and what power McHenry has until a new permanent Speaker is selected. But it is unclear at this time when that process will begin.