This week Paul Ryan announced that he would not run for re-election; which set off a mad dash to see who might replace him as House speaker. Rep. Steve Scalise (R) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) were both seeking the highly prized placement. The Speaker of the House is third in line of succession to the Presidency. However Scalise has withdrawn his name, and that just leaves McCarthy.
When it comes to Republicans these days; it usually a case of degrees of awfulness. When weighing both men McCarthy is just as awful as Scalise. For example, McCarthy has a 100% voting record from the Family Research Council and has been a starch opponent of marriage equality.
One of the lowest moments is when he stopped legislation to uphold President Obama's executive order banning job discrimination. The measure did have the votes to pass, but McCarthy pressured seven Republicans to change their vote, thus killing the bill. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) who sponsored the measure believed that Republicans held the vote open for a long period of time and this allowed them to change the outcome while the vote was already underway.
“They literally snatched discrimination from the jaws of equality,” Maloney said. Maloney actually approached McCarthy as he was pressuring his colleagues, and McCarthy told him to get back to his side of the aisle.
“I told him, ‘What side am I supposed to stand on in support of equality?’” said Maloney, New York‘s first openly gay congressman. “It was disgraceful.” Democrats shouted “Shame” as the vote tally was completed, but clearly, McCarthy is a man without any shame.
Ryan has stated that he'll remain in the Speaker position until the end of his term, however, pressure is building for him to step down sooner. Allowing McCarthy the possibility of becoming Speaker of the House. McCarthy might have to wait, Republicans are in a panic that they might lose both houses of Congress this November.
If McCarthy thinks that his being named Speaker is going to be easy he should hold up; far-right Freedom Caucus, Rep. Jim Jordan (R) is bouncing the idea of challenging McCarthy for the position.
McCarthy lost the support of the Freedom Caucus when he made a bid to become Speaker on the grounds that he was insufficiently conservative. The Freedom Caucus is a small group but has enough votes to deny McCarthy to needed voted to become Speaker. If this happens, Scalise just might step in, and truth be told he's no better.