October 4, 2023

US House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy removed in historic no-confidence vote

US House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy removed in historic no-confidence vote

Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters after he was ousted from the position of Speaker by a vote of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. October 3, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy has been removed in a historic no-confidence vote on Tuesday after a far-right revolt over his reliance on Democrats to pass funding to avert a government shutdown.

His removal was the first time in the history of the United States that a Speaker of the House would be ousted from office, a defeat he experienced from his Republican party after spending less than a year in office.

The final vote was 216-210, with eight Republicans joining all the Democrats to vote to remove McCarthy, CBS reported.

“The office of speaker of the House of the United States House of Representatives is hereby declared vacant,” said Republican Rep, Steve Womack of Arkansas, who was presiding over the chamber. 

Rep Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, a top ally of McCarthy’s and a member of the Financial Services Committee, was then appointed speaker pro tempore. The rules of the 118th Congress state that “in the case of a vacancy in the office of speaker, the next member” named on a list submitted by McCarthy to the clerk of the House in January will become speaker pro tempore until a speaker is elected. 

House Republicans met Tuesday night at a conference to discuss their next steps, as McCarthy told his colleagues he would not run for speaker again.

“The reason Kevin McCarthy went down today is because nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida told reporters after the vote. “Kevin McCarthy has made multiple contradictory promises, and when they all came due, he lost votes of people who maybe don’t even ideologically agree with me on everything.” 

“This represents the ripping off of the Band-Aid and that’s what we need to do to get back on track,” the Florida Republican added.

Along with Gaetz, seven Republican members voted to oust McCarthy: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.

A day earlier, Gaetz accused McCarthy of making a “secret side deal” with President Joe Biden on Ukraine aid to get a short-term funding bill passed hours before the government was set to shutdown. The California Republican denied having made any deal in exchange for Democratic votes.