Minnesota delegation responds to historic ouster of Speaker McCarthy

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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Minnesota’s members of Congress are explaining their votes in Tuesday’s historic removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The vote to push McCarthy out split the delegation on party lines. DFL Reps. Angie Craig, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips joined all Democrats in backing the removal effort launched by a handful of House Republicans.

Republican Reps. Tom Emmer, Brad Finstad, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber wanted to keep McCarthy in place.

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Here are excerpts from the statements released from Minnesota representatives responding to the historic removal of the House speaker.

Rep. Brad Finstad, 1st District

After voting against the resolution to vacate the Speaker of the House chair, Republican Rep. Brad Finstad released this statement:

“Rather than continuing to focus on the eight remaining appropriations bills that will fund the government, a few members of the Republican conference chose to play out their personal grievances on the House floor by introducing a motion to vacate the Speaker. Not only are these theatrics a distraction from the serious work that we have before us in Congress, but it only contributes to the dysfunction in Washington that southern Minnesotans are tired of, which is why I voted no on the resolution.

“I am disappointed in today’s chaos that brought the business of the People’s House to a grinding halt. I will continue to stand with the majority of our conference who are committed to doing the business of the American people, advancing the remaining appropriations bills, and getting our country back on the path of fiscal responsibility.”

Rep. Angie Craig, 2nd District

Prior to the vote, Rep. Craig posted this message on X (formerly Twitter):

“Kevin McCarthy has spent the last nine months placating the most radical MAGA Republicans in his party. We can’t trust him to stand by the agreements he makes.

“For that reason, I plan to support the motion to vacate.”

Rep. Dean Phillips, 3rd District

Rep. Phillips voted in favor of the resolution, and released this statement:

“I’m disappointed that former Speaker McCarthy chose not to work with Democrats, reform Congress, and make it work as intended. A historic, missed opportunity to demonstrate bipartisanship and restore faith in our government. I’ll be working to do so with the next Speaker.”

Rep. Betty McCollum, 4th District

Rep. McCollum voted in favor of the resolution. She released this statement prior to the vote on the resolution:

“Speaker McCarthy has never asked for my vote, much less offered to listen to the priorities of the people I represent. Why would I vote to enable the ongoing madness and chaos that have consumed the U.S. House since January?

“Let me be clear: Democrats stand united. This is about the Republican conference’s own internal war. They have the speakership, the gavels, and the majority — it is up to them to be able to find unity of purpose to pass their own bills.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, 5th District

Rep. Omar voted in favor of the resolution and released this statement:

”Speaker Kevin McCarthy made it his mission to target women’s ability to make decisions about their bodies, made it his mission to cover up a criminal conspiracy from Donald Trump, and is himself a threat to our democracy. He literally voted to overturn the 2020 election results, overthrow the duly elected President, and did nothing to discourage his members from doing the same. He represents one of the states most affected by climate change, but actively fights any efforts to address the climate crisis.

“Kevin McCarthy is a weak politician, who routinely put his self-interest over his constituents, the American people, and the Constitution.“

Rep. Tom Emmer, 6th District

Rep. Tom Emmer voted to keep McCarthy in the role of House Speaker, and credited him with a series of conservative victories in a speech to colleagues on Tuesday prior to the vote:

“Now it’s time for us to stand together stronger than ever so we can get back to the work our majority was elected to do. I’m proud to support the speaker as we continue championing conservative priorities that will put our country on a better path.”

Emmer has yet to release a statement on the results of the vote.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, 7th District

After voting against the resolution, Republican Rep. Michelle Fischbach released this statement:

“In the last nine months, Speaker McCarthy stood up to Democrats and forced President Biden to agree to the largest federal spending cuts in a decade. He ended the Omnibus Bill process, and now Congress is working on 12 separate appropriations bills, as it should. And, he opened an impeachment inquiry against President Biden. I am truly disappointed that all of that work is going to be halted until another Speaker is elected.”

Rep. Pete Stauber, 8th District

Rep. Stauber voted against the resolution and released this statement:

“This is a sad day for America. Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans have consistently delivered strong results for the American people, who are hurting thanks to the policies of the Biden Administration. Under his conservative and steadfast leadership, House Republicans have passed bills to cut $2 trillion in spending, reduce energy costs, enact commonsense work requirements, restore order at the southern border, and much more.

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy had my full support in January, and he had my full support today.”