Florida Representative Matt Gaetz is starting to question the extent to which former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was legally in the right to have started moving into the House Speaker’s office a day before the vote for the Speakership position took place. McCarthy failed to secure the position of Speaker in three separate votes.
On Tuesday, McCarthy, a Republican, failed to win the 218 votes that he needed to become the Speaker. While the Republican party holds the House majority, they only have a very narrow margin. This meant that McCarthy would need to not lose more than 4 votes from within his own party in order to become the House Speaker. Despite this 20 GOP House Members chose to vote for other members, which has left the chamber at a standstill. Until a Speaker has been elected, new congressional members are also not able to be sworn into office.
All 212 House Democrats voted in favor of New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries for the speaker position, while McCarthy only received 202 votes from Republicans in the third round of voting.
Prior to the vote being held, McCarthy and his staff had started the process of moving him into the empty Speaker’s office. Gaetz in a letter posted on Twitter addressed to Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton asked the extent to which McCarthy was allowed to move into the space legally.
“What is the basis in law, House rule, or precedent to allow someone who has placed second in three successive speaker elections to occupy the Speaker of the House Office?” He inquired in the letter.
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