Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has officially resigned from Congress. McCarthy, who holds the distinction of being the first House Speaker ever removed by the House, experienced the third-briefest tenure in the history of the United States. His political downfall ensued as fellow Republicans withdrew their support, primarily stemming from disagreements over government funding.
On December 6, McCarthy, influenced by fellow Republican congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) following their accord on a funding arrangement to avert a government shutdown, declared his intention to step down from Congress by the year’s end.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed breaking the news, the 58-year-old legislator announced his decision to resign from the House, citing a desire to serve America in new ways. While he pledged that this marked just the beginning for him, the reality is that his Congressional career is nearing its conclusion.
On December 19, House Reading Clerk Tylease Alli formally announced McCarthy’s resignation by reading his letter to the House, thereby triggering the end of his representation for California’s 20th Congressional District. In the letter, McCarthy expressed that serving the people of his district, specifically naming several cities, had been the honor of a lifetime.
McCarthy entered the House in 2006, securing representation for California’s 22nd district initially, and subsequently for the 23rd and, ultimately, the 20th districts. Notably, during his first term, he assumed a role on the Republican Steering Committee. His political trajectory saw him ascend to the position of House Majority Leader from 2014 to 2019, after which he assumed leadership of the House Republican Conference.
McCarthy appeared poised for a prosperous tenure in Congress, but things took a downturn when he pursued the position of Speaker of the House in January. Confronted with resistance from the extremely conservative faction within the GOP, he eventually secured the required votes by the 15th round—albeit after consenting to various procedural modifications intended to facilitate the removal of a speaker.
One of the modifications allowed Gaetz to propose a motion to vacate the speakership on October 3. In a noteworthy turn of events, eight Republicans joined forces with the Democrats to oust McCarthy from the position.