‘Troubling and tragic;’ Local professor talks what’s next after removal of House speaker

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a historic move, The House has voted to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker.

Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University, spoke to News Center 7 about the “troubling” impacts of this decision.

Smith said the answer to “How did we get here?” isn’t simple, and has to do with those who voted McCarthy out.

“The Republicans who are willing to vote against Kevin McCarthy for speaker, they’re an extraordinarily safe Republican districts. They don’t face any partisan competition, they have no need to persuade Democrats or Independents,” he said.

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But the role of House speaker isn’t an easy one or without conflict, Smith said, mostly due to the divisions that exist within the House of Representatives.

Ultimately Smith worries about what’s next, as one of the most powerful positions in Washington now sits vacant, with no clear successor.

Smith explained that the speaker more than anyone else in Congress can shape bills that move their way through the House.

“Anything that legislatively needs to happen has to move through the House of Representatives, or it won’t take place. Effectively, right now the House is shut down,” he said.

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“It’s it is a little bit sobering, and, frankly, a little embarrassing that it’s come to this,” he added.

As for who could be chosen as the next speaker, Smith said the constitution states it does not have to be an incumbent member of the House.

Despite ongoing conflicts, Smith believes there are groups of Republicans and Democrats who want to resolve this, but it’s still hard to say what the next few weeks will look like.

“So maybe there’ll be some sober-mindedness that will emerge, and we’ll see something take place. But it’s just hard to know because it’s just so unpredictable,” he said.

Smith reiterated how historic Tuesday’s decision was, and frankly to him, “chilling.”

“The Speaker of the House is the person who’s third in line for the presidency. And so this is a person that’s incredibly important for the future of our country, no matter how you slice it. And to have the seat vacant is just for people like me, it’s just troubling and tragic, frankly,” he said.

Until a new speaker is elected in the House to replace Kevin McCarthy, the job of running the lower chamber of Congress will fall to Rep. Patrick McHenry.

Lawmakers will return Tuesday night for a conference meeting before a potential vote later that week on electing a new speaker, Reps. Matt Gaetz and Bob Good told CNN.