sábado, junio 15

McCarthy announces he will leave Congress at the end of the year

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, who made history as the first speaker to be ousted from office, announced Wednesday that he would leave the House at the end of the year, but said that he planned to remain engaged in Republican politics.

Mr. McCarthy’s resignation, which he announced in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, will end a 16-year term in Congress during which he rose from being a member of the self-styled «Young Guns” – Republicans on their way to building their party’s majority in the House – into second place after the presidency.

It caps his spectacular fall after just under nine months as president, when the right-wing forces that he and other establishment Republicans exploited to fuel their political victories finally rose up and ousted him.

“I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest candidates to run for office,” Mr. McCarthy said in announcing his plans in the Journal. “The Republican Party is growing every day, and I am committed to using my experience to serve the next generation of leaders. »

Mr. McCarthy’s early exit, while not unexpected, creates a headache for his successor, Speaker Mike Johnson, who is struggling to lead the House with a slim and shrinking majority.

Many lawmakers have already announced they will leave the House, citing historic dysfunction. And while many of these departing members have said they plan to serve out their current terms, those plans can often change quickly when job offers start to materialize and a good life outside of Congress takes shape.

Mr. McCarthy’s impending departure, which he announced just days before the Dec. 8 deadline to run for re-election in California, will shrink the already slim Republican majority. The party’s margin in the House fell to three out of four seats with the expulsion of Rep. George Santos of New York last week.

That leaves almost no room for maneuver for Mr. Johnson, who is already facing a revolt from the far right for working with Democrats to keep the government funded and who faces two more shutdown deadlines in mid -January and early February.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California will have 14 days after Mr. McCarthy’s last day to call a special election to fill the seat, and under state law the election must take place about four months later.

For Mr. McCarthy, who has struggled to adjust to life as a rank-and-file lawmaker, leaving early has only upsides. Former members are barred for a year after leaving Congress from lobbying their former colleagues. By resigning this month, Mr. McCarthy can restart the delay in what promises to be a lucrative job in the private sector a year earlier than he might have done had he served his term. .

The end of his House career was difficult for Mr. McCarthy to accept, his friends and allies said. First elected to Congress in 2007, Mr. McCarthy was the party’s top fundraiser in the House and spent two election cycles helping build the Republican majority that ultimately rejected him as leader.

The seeds of his demise appeared from the moment Mr. McCarthy won the presidency in January after a historically long and nasty floor fight. Since that battle, when he agreed to changes demanded by far-right lawmakers in exchange for their votes, Mr. McCarthy and his allies had predicted that his presidency might end exactly as it ultimately did. But Mr. McCarthy was nevertheless bitter about it and insisted to the end that he had simply been ousted for doing the right thing and working with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown .

He said as much in his op-ed essay announcing his plans.

“No matter the odds or the personal cost, we did the right thing,” he wrote. “It may seem old-fashioned in Washington these days, but getting results for the American people is still celebrated across the country.”

Mr. McCarthy’s departure was celebrated by his critics on both sides of the aisle.

“Kevin McCarthy represents everything that is wrong with congressional Republicans and bears much of the blame for the rise of the cult of MAGA and Trump,” said Kyle Herrig, executive director of the Congressional Integrity Project, a group of defense, in a press release.

Mr. Herrig noted that Mr. McCarthy’s legacy included the decision to empower Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the House’s most extreme members, and giving former Speaker Donald J. Trump a political “lifeline” after the January 6 elections. 2021, attack on the Capitol, when Mr. McCarthy traveled to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to pay his respects.

Representative Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican who led the charge to oust Mr. McCarthy, celebrated the news with a one-word message on social media: “McLeavin’.”

After being removed as president in October, Mr. McCarthy gave an inconclusive answer about whether he would remain in Congress.

“I’ll take a look,” he then said. Later, in an effort to quell reports and rumors that he was leaving immediately, he told reporters that he was staying and was even considering running for office.

But his position as a rank-and-file member of the House alongside the Republicans who voted to remove him from office had become untenable, and Mr. McCarthy found the experience incredibly painful. His closest allies on Capitol Hill have been anticipating his imminent departure for weeks, even as he has avoided questions about his future.