Members of Oregon and Washington’s House delegations followed the vote of their parties Tuesday in the historic move to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
No Republican lawmaker in the two states was part of the eight who voted to punt McCarthy from the leadership position.
Though McCarthy helped engineer a bipartisan short-term deal to avert a shutdown at the 11th hour, the move wasn’t enough to win the favor of any House Democrats, including Rep. Suzanne Bonamici.
In a statement released minutes after the vote, Bonamici said she voted to remove McCarthy because he “has consistently empowered his conference’s most extreme members.”
“He has stood behind devastating cuts to public education and other government programs that help working families, like SNAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Head Start,” she said.
Those programs were also at risk of losing funding had a government shutdown occurred. Though lawmakers passed a spending package over the weekend, it pushed another showdown 45 days down the line. They will need to pass another spending bill ahead of a new Nov. 17 deadline.
Rep. Val Hoyle, a first-term Eugene Democrat, also voted to remove McCarthy. “It has been chaos from the beginning,” she said, in a nod to his marathon confirmation vote to win the speaker’s gavel in January, “and a distraction from the work that should be happening in Congress on behalf of the American people.”
Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a first-term Republican representing Oregon’s 5th Congressional district, posted on social media that she was “disappointed some members just voted to paralyze the House.”
Chavez-DeRemer voted against the ouster. She represents a swing district, one of 18 such nationally where a Republican representative serves but whose constituents voted for President Joe Biden in 2020. “They’ve put politics & personal grudges over the integrity of the chamber & the good of our country,” Chavez-DeRemer said of Tuesday’s historic vote. “The border is open, gas prices are rising, & gvt funding runs out in 43 days. We can’t afford to play these games.”
The House has only once pursued a vote to strip a speaker’s gavel once in its history, and that motion failed. Other speakers in the past have stepped down after losing their party’s support, but only McCarthy has lost his seat through a vote in the middle of a congressional term.
The vote was fueled by a few hard-right Republican members led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who were enraged by McCarthy’s willingness to work with Democrats on a spending package that prevented a government shutdown.
The final vote came down to 216-210, with all Democrats voting alongside eight conservatives to remove Mccarthy. Local representatives stuck with the general direction of their respective parties; all Oregon and Washington Democrats in the House voted to remove McCarthy, and GOP members voted to keep him.
Speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry will temporarily fill McCarthy’s seat. House rules don’t outline how long he can remain in power before the chamber votes in a new speaker.