Pingree, Golden vote to oust Speaker McCarthy
Maine's two Democratic members of the U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership post during a historic moment on Capitol Hill.
Democrats sat quietly as Republican infighting played out for more than an hour on the House floor. In the end, Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden joined all of the other Democrats and eight far-right Republicans in voting to oust McCarthy. Those 208 Democratic votes gave the small GOP contingent the majority numbers to remove the California Republican despite overwhelming support within his caucus.
In a statement before the vote, Golden criticized McCarthy's leadership and his position on issues important to Maine. And while he said Republicans are responsible for choosing their own leaders, Golden added that "absent any significantly meaningful benefit for Maine's 2nd District, I see no reason to vote for" McCarthy.
“Kevin McCarthy has been in Congress for 17 years,” said Golden, who represents Maine’s more conservative 2nd District. “He does not offer new leadership. He offers the same type of leadership that Maine has come to expect from much of the national political establishment of both parties.”
Pingree, meanwhile, said McCarthy was so desperate to win the gavel in January that he "sold out our institution" by allowing a single lawmaker to begin the process to remove a sitting speaker. That change was one of the multiple concessions McCarthy made following his election as speaker in January on the 15th vote.
Pingree, who represents Maine’s more left-leaning 1st District, said last week during the near-shutdown of the federal government that the Republican leading the push to oust McCarthy, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, was “not a serious member of Congress.” Pingree added on Tuesday that McCarthy’s concession to change the process to challenge a sitting speaker led to a situation where a "single tyrant can rule" in the populist House.
“Despite this, my Democratic colleagues and I have tried to work across the aisle whenever possible – in fact 86% of the bills I have introduced in this Congress have Republican cosponsors – but when it comes to our Democracy we will not cave to extremists,” Pingree said in a statement. “As we have witnessed, House Republicans cannot govern this way and that’s why I joined the united Democratic caucus to support a motion to vacate the chair.”
Republicans immediately recessed the House after the 216-210 vote. The parties will now meet to decide how to proceed in nominating and selection the next speaker.