House Republicans Oust Speaker McCarthy in Historic Vote
McCarthy Removed as Speaker by GOP Rebels
In a stunning turn of events, a faction of Republicans in the United States House of Representatives orchestrated the removal of Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday, plunging the party into turmoil just days after narrowly avoiding a government shutdown.
The removal of Kevin McCarthy, who served as the 55th Speaker of the House, unfolded in an unprecedented vote initiated by dissenting members within his own party. This faction had been simmering with discontent for the past nine months, dating back to McCarthy’s contentious ascension to the role of House Speaker, when he narrowly thwarted their attempts to block his appointment, securing the most influential position in Congress.
The historic vote, which ended with a tally of 216 in favor of McCarthy’s removal and 210 against, marked the first-ever ousting of a House Speaker by the House itself. Eight Republicans joined forces with 208 Democrats to unseat McCarthy, who announced that he would not seek another term as Speaker following the vote.
“I fought for what I believe in,” McCarthy stated. “I believe I can continue to fight, but maybe in a different manner.”
The House of Representatives now faces the prospect of operating without a Speaker for at least a week. Several Republican representatives have scheduled a meeting for October 10 to deliberate on potential successors to McCarthy, with a vote to select a new Speaker slated for October 11.
The driving force behind Tuesday’s rebellion was Representative Matt Gaetz, a far-right Republican from Florida who had a long-standing rivalry with McCarthy. Gaetz publicly turned against the Speaker after McCarthy sought Democratic support to pass a bill averting a partial government shutdown on the preceding Saturday.
“Kevin McCarthy is a creature of the swamp. He has risen to power by collecting special interest money and redistributing that money in exchange for favors. We are breaking the fever now,” Gaetz declared in a post-vote statement.
This episode adds to the string of high-drama moments in a year marked by Republican-led brinkmanship, which brought Washington perilously close to a catastrophic default on the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt and a potential partial government shutdown.
Republicans currently hold a precarious majority in the chamber, with a narrow 221-212 edge. This means that they can only afford to lose a maximum of five votes if Democrats unite in opposition. McCarthy’s removal as Speaker has halted legislative activity in the House, raising concerns with another government shutdown deadline looming on November 17 if Congress fails to extend funding.
The White House expressed hope that the House would expedite the selection of a new Speaker, as the position is second in line to the presidency, following the Vice President.