US Congressman Drops Out of Race for House Speaker
California Congressman Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the race for one of the most powerful positions in the United States.
Mr. McCarthy, a member of the Republican Party, is the current majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He was expected to become the next Speaker of the House. The position is third in line to the presidency. The speaker would become president if something happened to both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, the House Freedom Caucus voted to support another lawmaker, Daniel Webster from Florida, in the speaker’s race. The conservative group rejected Mr. McCarthy, who would need a majority of the 247 House Republicans to win election.
Mr. McCarthy shocked other lawmakers on Thursday, telling them that he is not the right person for the job. He asked to delay the election for a new speaker. In a press conference later, he said that, “we need a new face.” The congressman will remain as majority leader.
“There was total shock, and then total silence,” Representative Robert Pittenger told the Associated Press about the closed-door meeting. Another congressman, Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The House Freedom Caucus is a group of 30 conservative lawmakers in the House. They sometimes vote together to test the Republican leadership in Congress.
Less than two weeks ago, Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation. In his five years as speaker, conservative Republicans have repeatedly tested his leadership. Other Republicans, like Paul Ryan, a former vice-presidential candidate, have chosen not to be considered for the speaker’s position. The two remaining announced candidates are Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Congressman, and Mr. Webster of Florida.
Representative John Fleming of Louisiana is a member of the Freedom Caucus. After Mr. McCarthy’s announcement, he said, “We feel that conservatives have been greatly marginalized by the current leadership.”
Hai Do wrote this for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck and George Grow were the editors.
Words in This Story
caucus – n. a group of people with shared concerns within a political party or larger group
marginalized – v. treating someone or something as unimportant
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