LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas members of the U.S. House of Representatives spoke out quickly after the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy was voted from the position of House Speaker on Tuesday afternoon in a 216 to 210 vote after a motion by conservative hard-liner Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida). Gaetz and other hard-line conservatives faulted McCarthy for relying upon Democrat votes to pass the temporary spending measure on Saturday that kept the government open.
The Arkansas delegation had earlier spoken to support the spending measure, and all voted against the move to vacate the speaker’s office.
Rep. Steve Womack, who actually oversaw the vote that decided McCarthy’s fate, spoke about the “reckless nature” of the Tuesday proceeding.
“Arkansans sent me to Washington to reverse the Biden-Pelosi agenda, secure the border, and lower costs for families—but first and foremost, to govern responsibly,” Womack said. “This selfish action to remove the Speaker upends all our work for the American people. It is utterly irresponsible, counterproductive, and a distraction from our duty. This political ruckus coming from a handful of members is standing in the way of completing needed appropriations and continuing to advance conservative policies. It’s hurtful for America, and I’m incredibly disappointed in today’s result.”
Shortly before the vote to oust McCarthy, Rep. Bruce Westerman spoke on the floor about his opposition to the move. He later posted his opposition on social media.
“A vote to vacate the chair is selfish, bad for conservative policies, and bad for America. I strongly support @SpeakerMcCarthy,” he stated. “That’s why, without hesitation, I will vote no on this disastrous resolution.”
Rep. French Hill made a statement after the Tuesday vote expressing his disappointment.
“I am deeply disappointed by the decision today to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from Speaker of the House,” Hill said. “Over the past nine months as Speaker, Speaker McCarthy has delivered win after win, including some of the most conservative spending cuts and policies in history. I am proud of his accomplishments and am grateful to him for his service to this body and our nation.”
Hill also spoke about the timeline to pass an appropriations bill, reminding that the continuing resolution passed Saturday is only in effect for 45 days.
Rep. Rick Crawford also stood up for McCarthy on social media Monday, calling the push to oust the speaker a “circus act” that takes focus off of what the northeast Arkansas Republican said were “failures” of President Joe Biden.
“The motion to vacate circus act is a ridiculous sideshow that ignores critical issues facing our constituents and lets [Pres.] Biden avoid scrutiny for his refusal to protect our borders, his disastrous Bidenflation, and his dangerous Iran giveaways, among other failures,” he stated, later adding, “House Republicans are weaker against the Democrat White House and Senate because a small handful are sabotaging conservative policies.”
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) has been appointed speaker pro tempore pending the House’s vote on a new speaker.