Kevin McCarthy Ousted as House Speaker

News: US News
by Nicholas Wylie  •  •  October 3, 2023   

Gaetz's motion to remove him passes

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WASHINGTON ( - The GOP-led U.S. House of Representatives has voted to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as its speaker.

Rep. Matt Gaetz

The House voted 216 to 210 on Tuesday — including eight Republicans — to remove McCarthy from the position following a motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Monday to vacate the seat.

In addition to Gaetz, the other Republicans who joined House Democrats to remove McCarthy were reportedly Reps. Andy Biggs and Eli Crane of Arizona, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana.

Impassioned Plea

After a motion to table Gaetz's motion failed, Gaetz took on the entire GOP House almost single-handedly in debate on the House floor. The Florida congressman made his case as to why Rep. McCarthy should be considered incompetent for the job as the majority of the Republican representatives stood up to praise the House speaker. 

"I don't feel pressure from conservatives or Democrats. I feel the judgment of history. I worry that when the history books are written about this country going down, that my name is going to be on the Board of Directors here," the Florida Republican posted Tuesday before the vote. 

Rep. Gaetz continued, "If this country is going down, I am going down fighting. I don't care if that means fighting Republicans, Democrats, the uniparty, House leadership, the PACs, or the lobbyists."

Gaetz also reposted on X:

@MattGaetz is not causing the problems in Washington DC. It was Gaetz, @LaurenBoebert, @EliCraneAZ and others who extracted concessions in exchange for giving McCarthy the votes to become House Speaker. One of those promises was passing twelve appropriations bills for a budget again. Another promise was giving Members at least 72 hours to read legislation. Both of those promises were not upheld this weekend. This ignores other promises that were ignored throughout the months McCarthy has been Speaker. So, McCarthy broke his end of the bargain in the agreement. Gaetz is now exercising the mechanism that he can to hold McCarthy accountable for breaking his bargain. How is Gaetz the bad guy in that situation?

Gaetz was one of the GOP representatives responsible for the 15 voting sessions it took for McCarthy to become speaker. McCarthy was only able to garner enough votes after receiving support from President Donald Trump and a list of concessions was made, appeasing the demands of most of the holdouts. 

A 'Conscience' Vote

"I have to vote my conscience. We failed to do our job and pass the budget and then passed a temporary spending bill to extend the deadline like we do every year," lamented Tennessee's Rep. Burchett prior to the vote.

"It's a tough decision, but I'm poised to vote for the motion to vacate because we are $33 trillion dollars in debt. We either need to change our direction or change our leadership," he rued. 

Arizona's Rep. Biggs similarly posted, "Last November, I ran for House Speaker because I feared that Kevin McCarthy would not rein in federal spending and take on Democrats. As seen by his latest [continuing resolution to temporarily fund federal operations], these fears are now reality. He cannot remain Speaker."

McCarthy is now the first speaker of the U.S. House to ever be removed by a motion to vacate. The next agenda for the House will be to elect a replacement. 

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