McCarthy Writes Op-Ed Announcing His Own Retirement

( – On October 3, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) earned an unenviable place in history when he became the first House Speaker forced from office by a motion to vacate. McCarthy, who had hit deadlock with fellow Republicans over budget negotiations, was brought down by new rules he’d agreed to in a bid to get over the line in the drawn-out voting for the position. Now he says he wants to move on to other things — and he’s leaving Congress.

McCarthy Is Out

It took no less than 15 ballots before McCarthy managed to collect enough votes to be elected speaker back in January, and to bring in the last few supporters he had to make compromises. One of those compromises was a rule change that allowed just one proposer needed for a motion to vacate.

For the first few months, as McCarthy settled into the job, everything in the House went well enough — but then came the budget negotiations, with the inevitable conflict between what the Biden administration wanted to spend and what Republicans thought they could afford to spend. McCarthy worked hard to find a compromise both sides could accept, but he couldn’t quite garner enough support to make it work.

In the end, with the threat of a government shutdown looming, he ran out of room to maneuver, and Gaetz, a budget hard-liner, submitted the motion to vacate. Although only eight Republicans including Gaetz voted in favor, every Democrat House member did, giving the motion a majority of six votes. McCarthy has now been replaced by Mike Johnson (R-LA).

A New Career?

So, where now for McCarthy? On December 6 he wrote in the “Wall Street Journal” that he’s decided to leave Congress at the end of the year, without finishing his current term. That means a special election to replace him, which the GOP is likely to win unless it goes badly wrong — in 2022 McCarthy held his seat with 67.2% of the vote — but it also means McCarthy himself will be out of the House and looking for something new.

At 58 he could retire, but that doesn’t seem to be his plan. In his WSJ op-ed he said he’ll “serve America in new ways,” and also promised to “continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office.” His political career isn’t over quite yet, then, although he won’t be on the front line any longer.

He went on to say he looks forward to “helping entrepreneurs and risk takers,” hinting at a career in investment. That would be a new direction for him. He’s worked various jobs before from his first business (a sandwich van) when he was 19 to part-time firefighting through college. Investing is a new direction. It wouldn’t be the same as being House Speaker, but on the plus side, it isn’t as easy a job to lose, either.

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