Blog 10/13/23

Weekly Spotlight 10/13/23 – 10/19/23

The politics and process of replacing the Speaker of the House – and what it means for you

As you’ve likely seen in the news, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) was recently removed as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.  The final vote to oust him, which was carried across the finish line by every Democratic member of the House and eight Republican members, brought his Speakership to a close after only 270 days.  Only two other House Speakers have served shorter tenures in the position – Theodore Pomeroy and Michael Kerr – who served in the 1860s and 1870s, respectively. 

So what brought about McCarthy’s demise?  How did it happen?  What’s next for the House, which currently lacks a Speaker and by law may not bring any legislation to the floor for a vote?  We’re here to deliver everything you need to know so you can better understand the political process, and hopefully we’ll impress upon you the importance of electing leaders who are prioritizing the urgent needs of American citizens – like securing your Second Amendment rights – and not petty politics. 

First, it’s important to recall what happened back in January when Kevin McCarthy was first elected as Speaker of the House.  Due to intra-party conflict among Republican House members, McCarthy had to make a number of concessions to the conservative wing of the party about House procedures, namely on the appropriations process (how Congress funds the government) and a particular provision called the “Motion to Vacate the Chair” (more on that later).  Even still, it took FIFTEEN rounds of voting on the House floor before McCarthy “won the gavel” – the most in history. 

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.  There was a deadline for Congress to fund the government, which requires appropriations legislation to be passed by both the House and Senate.  The House passed a number of spending bills, but they were doomed to make it through the Democrat-controlled Congress.  Despite lengthy negotiations, it left McCarthy in the position of having to pass a “Continuing Resolution,” which essentially keep the status quo of government spending levels for a temporary period of time – in this case about 45 days.  This was viewed by a small number of Republicans as a betrayal of promises McCarthy had made back in January when he was trying to convince members to make him Speaker.  

That brings us back to the “Motion to Vacate the Chair.”  As part of the Republican agreement that got McCarthy elected Speaker, the House GOP implemented a rule giving a single member of Congress the power to call for a vote to remove the Speaker of the House.  In this case, it was Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01), one of McCarthy’s most outspoken critics.  In the end, Gaetz and seven other Republicans voted with 212 Democrats to remove McCarthy. 

The end of McCarthy’s speakership brought the U.S. House to a standstill for the moment – the House is unable to bring any legislation to the floor as long as there is no Speaker.  Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA-01) was nominated by a majority of the House Republican Conference this week to be the next Speaker, however, he was unable to secure the necessary votes for a full House vote and withdrew himself from consideration.  This means Republicans need to seek alternative candidates, and it’s very uncertain how that will play out.  


The entire Speaker debacle paints a clear picture of why your votes in November every two years matter.   Learning about what issues matter to you, contacting your member of Congress, registering to vote and selecting candidates that you know will represent your best interests is crucial.  The USCCA-FSL Action fund is here to equip gun owners to play a larger role in this process so that your Second Amendment rights and your ability to protect yourself and your loved ones will be secured for generations to come. 

Become a gun policy whizz. View our 2023 legislative packet! 


The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a new challenge to New York’s provision of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act on background checks for ammunition purchases that recently went into effect, according to court records. Gun retailers now go through New York State Police instead of the National Instant Criminal background check system, or NICS, and the state now requires checks not just for firearms but ammunition purchases and charging fees of $9 and $2.50, respectively, each time. The law also requires periodic onsite inspections of firearms dealers.

Congress and President Joe Biden have undone a mess of their own making. On Friday, Biden signed the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act into law. Congress passed the law nearly unanimously. The legislation restores funding for school hunting and archery training courses. “The benefits of hunter education and archery programs should be fully recognized as these classes teach future generations the important skills of public safety, confidence, and comradery,” Representative Richard Hudson (R., N.C.), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.

The state’s police chiefs do not support the Legislature’s efforts to strengthen Massachusetts gun laws — and it’s unanimous. Mark Leahy, former chief of the Northboro Police Department and the executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, said his organization recently met and voted to come out against Bill HD.4607, or An Act modernizing firearm laws. The bill simply won’t reduce crime, Leahy said. “Earlier today our membership met. We ultimately polled our members concerning HD.4607 and the result was an unprecedented unanimous vote to not support this bill,” Leahy told the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday.

A sheriff’s office in Missouri is waiving concealed carry fees following Hamas attacking Israel last weekend. Bates County, Missouri Sheriff Chad Anderson said on Tuesday evening that he has decided to waive fees “in light of instability in the world,” citing the war in Israel and concerns with security on the border between the United States and Mexico. “Today, as I watch the unrest across the globe and inside the United States in relation to the terrorist attacks in Israel and the compromised open southern border, I feel that it’s my duty as Sheriff to help my citizens protect themselves no matter where they are in this country,” Anderson said.