As many may know, Kevin McCarthy was recently removed from his position as the Speaker of the House. According to CBS News, “McCarthy is the first to be ousted through a vote of the full House in the middle of a congressional term.” This is not only representative of an increasingly polarized Washington, but also demonstrates how politicians’ focus is on politics rather than people. The process of removing McCarthy and then finding a replacement is a time consuming process, one that quite frankly very few Americans care about.
The Speaker of the House is undoubtedly an important figure. They wield a lot of power in Congress and are high up in the presidential line of succession. That being said, as important as the Speaker of the House is, the average person cares very little about who holds the role. While these statistics are admittedly dated, the Washington Post reported that “In June 2008, people were … asked to name the speaker without a list of options. Thirty-nine percent said Pelosi. Fifty-eight percent couldn’t name anyone.” This goes to show that the average American doesn’t even know who the Speaker of the House is — they’re simply too busy worrying about their own problems to care.
Congress’ mindset clearly differs from that of the American people. While many Americans don’t even know who the Speaker is and are more worried about their own lives, Congress is clearly more concerned with who holds the Speaker’s position and is less worried about the people they represent. The fight for Speaker continues to prove this very point. Even when McCarthy was originally elected, he was “elected on the 15th ballot.” That alone is more than enough time to spend on one Speaker’s election cycle, but the House of Representatives is taking even more time on the issue. The clear disconnect between Congress and the needs of the American people is probably why Congress’ approval ratings are so laughable. Gallup regularly asks people “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?” and as of the September poll, only 17% approved.
It’s now been 2 weeks since McCarthy has been removed from office. The time that this process has taken has also been an enormous waste of taxpayer money. To estimate, assuming that 2 weeks have been dedicated to finding a new Speaker, we can multiply 2/52 by 435 members of the House of Representatives by $174,000, “the compensation for most… Representatives.” This equates to $2,911,153.85. Granted, this figure is highly speculatory. For example, there are likely some vacancies in the House of Representatives, and members of the house are hopefully focused on more than the search for a new Speaker for this two week period. Nevertheless, while not entirely accurate, this number still reflects the fact that we’re wasting almost $3 million of taxpayer dollars so Congress can play politics instead of caring about the American people.
Almost $3 million wasted on a political fight in Washington isn’t what anyone in the U.S. wants. People want actual action to address real issues and help real people. This entire stunt wastes Congress’ time and taxpayers’ money. The fact that this is happening says a lot about the worth of Congress and its ability to connect with the people it was created to serve.