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Lawmakers representing western Pennsylvania react to ousting of McCarthy

PITTSBURGH — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted Tuesday in a 216-210 vote, where eight Republicans joined their Democratic counterparts amid a GOP rift.

“The feeling is somber. I think there’s a recognition of just how incredibly serious this is,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, reflecting on the mood at the Capitol.

“Frankly, it’s a pretty sad day for this country. We saw a Republican Civil War,” added fellow PA Democrat Chris Deluzio.

Deluzio and Lee supported the ouster.

Western Pennsylvania Republicans Mike Kelly, Guy Reschenthaler, and Glenn Thompson backed McCarthy.

Kelly tweeted, “I’m proud to stand with Speaker McCarthy.”

Reschenthaler tweeted, “Speaker McCarthy is an experienced champion of freedom and conservative principles. He’s led the fight holding President Biden accountable and getting our nation back on track.”

So what’s next in D.C.?

“We all have to come to an agreement on who will become the Speaker of the House. We actually can’t do any business until we do that,” said Lee.

Republican Patrick McHenry has been named speaker pro tem in the interim.

House Democrats are pushing for New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries to be elected as the next speaker.

Deluzio is calling for bipartisanship.

“The path forward, frankly, is for some sensible Republicans to join House Democrats in a bipartisan coalition and to govern for this county to get things done,” Deluzio said.

Pitt political science professor Chris Bonneau expects to see some of that but ultimately believes a Republican will prevail as the next speaker.

“There’s definitely an opportunity there for moderate House Republicans to partner with House Democrats to elect a speaker — either a moderate House Republican as speaker or a member of Democratic leadership as speaker,” Bonneau said. “If I were betting, I would bet that the Republicans will figure out some way to get a speaker from among their ranks.”

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