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GOP Chaos: Boehner's Chosen Successor Kevin McCarthy Pulls Out Of Speaker Race

Just two weeks after House speaker John Boehner dramatically announced his premature resignation without cause from his position seemingly in an attempt to difuse the tension within the GOP, there has been another just as dramatic development when moments ago we learned that Boehner's chosen successor Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn his candidacy for the speaker position.


The result is a delay in the speaker vote...


... which puts in jeopardy not only any future negotiations over US government funding when the continuing resolution expires in mid-December but more importantly puts into question what happens with the US debt ceiling when the US government runs out of emergency measures some time in early November as Jack Lew has warned is the deadline for getting a deal struck.

* * *

This is what happened moments ago:

In a few moments, we'll announce the

nominee for . Who do you think it'll be?

— House Republicans (@HouseGOP)

Followed by this:

In a stunning move, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn his candidacy for House Speaker.


GOP lawmakers said McCarthy told colleagues at the start of the conference Thursday that he was not the right person for the job. He recommended that the election be postponed and Speaker John Boehner delayed it.


“His supporters appeared stunned too”: Huelskamp

And this:

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has abandoned his bid for House speaker Thursday afternoon, just minutes before the election was about to begin.


Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who resigned the post last month, announced in the meeting that elections were being postponed.


The House Republican Conference, which has lurched from one legislative disaster to another, is now in a serious crisis. McCarthy was one of the only lawmakers in the chamber who was seen as able to garner the 218 requisite votes to become speaker.


Now, Republicans will likely have to look for another candidate — and quickly. Boehner is planning to step down at the end of October.


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) repeated after the announcement that he won't run for speaker. "While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate.

Perhaps McCarthy's exit is not all too surprising considering the announcement late last night that the Freedom Caucus would support the relatively unknown California Rep. Daniel Webster. Politico had more:

The move, so far, affects McCarthy only during an internal Republican Conference vote on Thursday — as members of the group could still end up voting for McCarthy in a few weeks when the entire House votes to elect a new speaker.


But it’s a strong signal that conservatives aren’t happy with McCarthy’s campaign to this point, and they’re going to try and move him closer to the far-right flank of the party — the same group that rebelled against GOP leadership and helped force Speaker John Boehner’s retirement.


“We’ve been clear — we want rules, policy and process. Regular order was the big word from the last couple of weeks. We want that on paper ahead of time,” said Rep. David Brat of Virginia. “We just go day by day by day.”


Interviews with more than a half-dozen members of the Freedom Caucus point to a deep skepticism of McCarthy’s promises to reform how the House operates. They want McCarthy to put out a written statement on his plans to empower committees and do away with punishments for lawmakers who vote against leadership.


And conservatives are refusing to back him until they see results.

* * *

Here are some guidelines on the current status of US debt ceiling courtesy of Stone McCarthy:

Our latest projections show Treasury with less than $2.0 billion left in its toolkit in the week that starts November 2. Given the uncertainty surrounding these projections -- particularly regarding debt issuance to trust funds -- we think that's tantamount to the extraordinary measures being exhausted. Treasury Secretary Lew in his letter said Treasury expects to use up its extraordinary measures "on or about" November 5.



* * *

Earlier today, outgoing House Speaker Boehner said that discussions were under way to deal with the debt limit, but that "there is no agreement on how to do this."


We think that a best-case scenario is one where Boehner pushes through a clean debt-limit increase with the help of Democrats before he steps down at the end of the month. However, given the internal turmoil in the GOP as it debates naming new leaders, we don't know how likely that is. To put it mildly, the 40 or so more right-wing Republican House members who make up the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) would not be pleased if that happened. While Boehner wouldn't care, what would be the repercussions for his preferred successor, Majority Leader McCarthy? (A group called the Tea Party Patriots is handing out "McBoehner" T-shirts to make the point that McCarthy is Boehner's "clone.")


McCarthy, meanwhile, isn't a shoe-in for the Speaker's job. The House GOP is supposed to nominate a speaker in a meeting later this week, and McCarthy is expected to get the support of a majority of the 247 GOP House members. What's more uncertain is how McCarthy would fare when the full House elects the next Speaker on October 29. No Democrats are expected to support him, and it's not clear how many members of the HFC might not back him. It's conceivable that McCarthy might not get the 218 votes needed relying on Republicans alone. We're not sure what might happen next. Would another Republican get 218 votes? That seems unlikely based on the other candidates who have thrown their hat into the ring so far. Would McCarthy court Democrats for support? That would certainly weaken his standing with the HFC members of his party.


If McCarthy does become Speaker at the end of the month, and has to engineer an increase in the debt limit, it will be a major challenge for the first few days of his tenure. The HFC types won't want a debt limit increase without something in return, a nonstarter with Democrats and the President. If he ignores the HFC members to avoid a default, he'll be in the cross hairs like Boehner was pretty quickly.

Now that McCarthy is out, the future of the debt ceiling raise is suddenly in limbo.

The Stock Market reacted modestly...