NC Republicans, Democrats weigh in on history making vote to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Thursday, October 5, 2023
Republicans in Fayetteville weigh in on vote to oust House Speaker
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Republicans search for new leader after historic vote ousts House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday.

NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) -- On the heels of the historic ousting of Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the House, representatives across North Carolina are left wondering what's next.

Some Republicans in Fayetteville say McCarthy's firing demonstrates how infighting within the party has reached an all-time low.

"It was a matter of time, I think. But, I was quite surprised and I don't think it was the right way to handle it," says Bobby Hurst, a former Fayetteville councilman.

Hurst says McCarthy should have been able to keep his job and that Republicans should have hashed out their differences in a conference.

But Troy Williams says maybe this political environment isn't conducive to that.

"This is 21st Century politics. Things are no longer the same as they once were. People are not committed to just an ideology, they're not committed to a party. If they can't have their way, then we have fringes. Those people on the fringe, that's what they do."

Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Dawkins of Fayetteville acknowledges the spending plan that McCarthy originally agreed upon with President Biden and Democratic lawmakers as a first step in finding a solution to the crafting of a national budget--a first step that could have been improved upon over time. However, he understands why eight Republican representatives voted to oust McCarthy.

"We've got to get our spending at the federal level under control. Here in Fayetteville, we have to balance the budget every single year. We can't do deficit spending and Washington has been doing it as long as I can recall at least 40 years. And that's got to stop."

However, other Republicans pushed back on how McCarthy was let go, saying there were better strategies to bring change to Congress. Mikele Quinlan, the president of the Fayetteville Republican Women's Club, says this sets a bad precedent for the incoming speaker.

She also says the Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy need to learn how to find common ground.

"When you're in a position like that, you not only have to please your own people--of which there are many different opinions just in that group--but you also have to get something from the opposing side, the Democrats. You have to be able to work with all of them as a speaker. And that's what I think they fail to see," Quinlan said.

"The Democrats and Republicans have got to figure out what's important to them and then compromise. They've got to work together just like we do here at City Hall," Dawkins said.

The House is expected to vote for a new speaker as early as next week. Meanwhile, the pressure is on, as lawmakers have to agree on the next spending plan to avoid a government shutdown next month.

In the meantime, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is the leader of the House. Rep. McHenry's team sent ABC11 this statement: "Congressman McHenry's responsibility to the Conference and the institution is to facilitate the election of the next Speaker. That is his focus at the moment."

Other Reaction to McCarthy's ouster

The House is expected to vote next week a new speaker. In the meantime, NC Rep. Patrick McHenry of NC is speaker tempore.

Rep. Deborah Ross (NC-12) tells ABC11, "My constituents were not well-served by Kevin McCarthy because Kevin McCarthy was held hostage by right-wing extremists. And their values are not the values of the Second Congressional District. Their values wanted to shut down the government and make sure that women and children couldn't get access to food assistance. And that Head Start would close this past Monday. Their values were to say that our military wouldn't know when their next paycheck would come. So I know that my constituents were not consistent with those values. And until Kevin McCarthy decided that he would pick working across the aisle rather than trying to appease the extreme right-wing which wanted to shut down the government, I simply could not vote for Kevin McCarthy."

Rep. Ross said soon after getting the speaker position, McCarthy repeatedly stated he would not negotiate with Democrats.

"Kevin McCarthy made it abundantly clear that he was not going to negotiate with Democrats he went on the morning shows and said that. He said that multiple times. So he left us with no choice because we couldn't trust him with what he would do with his power. And clearly, eight members of his own conference couldn't trust him either," Rep. Ross said.

"We're seeing chaos and confusion within the Republican party. Republicans fighting with other Republicans. And while all this is happening we have really important pressing needs. We have to pass this budget in a little bit more than a month. We have to support our friends and allies in Ukraine in the next month or Vladimir Putin wins in Ukraine. And we have immigration reform. Those are the big issues we need to focus on. Right now we're rudderless as a country because we don't have a speaker and Republicans continue to be at war with each other," Rep. Wiley Nickel tells ABC11.

Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, of NC, tweeted her thoughts Tuesday after McCarthy was voted out: "Today's action to remove @SpeakerMcCarthy is a sucker punch to every American who entrusted us with this majority. Our vision is far better than that of the Democrat Senate & White House - we damn well better start acting like it & get back to work serving the American people."

Also in a tweet, Congressman Greg Murphy is calling on his fellow Republicans to caucus to elect a speaker before they come to the floor: "Next week Republicans need to caucus together and elect a speaker BEFORE we ever come to the floor. We do not need to be airing out our differences and personal attacks. We had enough of that nonsense this past week."


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