Democrat praises outgoing Rep. McCarthy for bipartisanship after voting to oust him as speaker
McCarthy, who said on Wednesday that he plans to retire from the House at the end of the year, was removed as speaker 216-210 on Oct. 3 with 8 Republican votes and 208 Democrat votes
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the former House majority leader, praised former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday after he announced his retirement but his statement left out that he personally voted to oust McCarthy as speaker in October.
“Kevin McCarthy and I served together in Congress for over 16 years. For much of that time, we both held leadership positions within our respective parties," he said in the statement Wednesday.
"Anyone who has watched one of the many weekly colloquies that he and I participated in over the years knows that we have very different views on policy and often disagree with each other’s decisions. Despite our differences, however, we became friends. His ouster from the speakership and his decision to retire from the House are the product of a Congress in which polarization has become the norm and trust the exception," Hoyer added.
Hoyer said he and McCarthy both "found consensus on a number of issues over the years," noting that he traveled with the California Republican to Israel last spring as a part of the House's longstanding bipartisan effort to strengthen the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.
"That bipartisan cooperation to support Israel is crucial now more than ever before. We also worked together to bring this institution that we love into the 21st century by cohosting the annual Congressional Hackathon and by establishing the House's Technology Modernization Fund," he said.
"These efforts have helped the House better serve the American people and will have a lasting impact for generations to come. Additionally, Kevin and I helped bring Democrats and Republicans together to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild after the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and to strengthen the islands’ infrastructure against future disasters," he added.
Hoyer emphasized that McCarthy "faced challenging circumstances as speaker" but in "many instances" the former speaker made the right move for the country as a whole.
"When possible, I did what I could to help him navigate them so that the House could function in a bipartisan manner. Although Kevin did not always agree with my advice, I appreciated his willingness to hear my perspective," he said. "We had our disagreements, but in many instances when the stakes were high for our nation, Kevin did what was right for the country. I wish him well as he sets out on this new path and look forward to working with him in the future."
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a motion to vacate the speaker's chair due to House conservatives' opposition to the continuing resolution McCarthy put on the House floor. The spending bill received votes from both Republicans and Democrats and was ultimately signed by President Joe Biden.
McCarthy was formally removed as speaker by a vote of 216-210 on Oct. 3 with 8 Republicans joining all 208 Democrats present in the chamber. McCarthy said Wednesday he plans to leave the House at the end of the year, rather than serve his full term.
The House GOP conference later elected Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., for speaker. He ultimately won the speaker election on the House floor.