House Votes 216-210 to Oust McCarthy

Republican is first speaker to be stripped of gavel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 3:58 PM CDT
House Ousts McCarthy in Historic Vote
Rep. Matt Gaetz walks through a basement corridor to a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In a historic 216 to 210 vote Tuesday, House lawmakers made Rep. Kevin McCarthy the first House speaker ever to be stripped of the gavel. Rebellious conservative Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz joined Democrats in voting for a measure to remove McCarthy as speaker, the first vote of its kind since 1910 and the first ever to succeed. Eight Republicans voted to remove McCarthy, down from 11 who rejected a motion to block the measure, the New York Times reports. Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina was appointed speaker pro tempore, the AP reports. The Republican recessed the House after picking up the gavel.

In the debate leading up to the vote, Republican Rep. Matt Garcia said removing McCarthy would be a bad move because the party needs to be the "no drama" option, a line that drew laughter from Democrats, the Guardian reports. "Today, this body is filled with people in fancy suits led by a few Republicans who are running with scissors and supported by Democrats who have personal issues with the speaker, have uncertain intentions and even more uncertain goals," Garcia said.

Gaetz made the case for McCarthy's ouster, accusing him of cutting a "secret deal" with the Biden administration on aid to Ukraine and describing a deal to raise the debt limit as the speaker's "original sin." "We have to break this cycle," he said. "Let's get our act together. Let's get on with it. Let's vacate the chair, and let's get a better speaker." Gaetz was speaking from the Democratic side of the aisle, and sources tell the Washington Post it was because angry Republicans wouldn't let him speak from their side. (Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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