Kentucky Congressmen react to defeat of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

The fight for the job of House Speaker gained momentum Wednesday, after a historic vote that ousted Kevin McCarthy
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The fight for the job of House Speaker gained momentum Wednesday, after a historic vote that ousted Kevin McCarthy.

All five Kentucky Republicans in the House supported McCarthy.

In a debate preceding the vote, Kentucky Fourth District Republican Congressman Thomas Massie received applause on the House floor, pleading to keep McCarthy on the job.

“If regular order fails today, if you vacate the speaker, nobody’s going to try it again,” Massie said Tuesday. “This institution will fail. Please do not vacate the Speaker.”

In the end, Massie’s words and the support of all five Kentucky Republicans in the House failed to save McCarthy.

Kentucky Sixth District Republican Congressman Andy Barr emerged strongly critical of Florida’s Matt Gaetz and others who pushed the vote through.

”In a narrow majority, tactics matter,” Barr said. “And voting with Democrats against a conservative bill does not advance the cause.”

Democrats were unified against McCarthy including Kentucky’s only Democrat in Congress, Kentucky Third District Morgan McGarvey, who now puts pressure on Republicans to cut through the chaos.

”The Republicans are really wasting valuable time,” McGarvey said, “That we should be using coming up with these appropriations bills to keep the government open, to have a speaker fight. Because we cannot consider any legislation until there’s a speaker.”

In the meantime, Kentucky’s last word on Kevin McCarthy came from Senator Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, who praised the former Speaker for his persistence and his idealism.

”Speaker McCarthy took office with a commitment to America,” McConnell said in a statement. “He insisted on restoring regular order. He made sure that the people’s House was once again open to the American people. And he took on the gravest challenge, a looming debt crisis, with single-minded determination.”

In the race to replace McCarthy, Congressman Massey went on record Wednesday, supporting Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced he wants the job as well.