A handful of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on October 3, ousted Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as party infighting plunged Congress into further chaos just days after it narrowly averted a government shutdown.
The 216-to-210 vote marked the first time in history that the House removed its leader, with eight Republicans voting with 208 Democrats to remove McCarthy. McCarthy told reporters he would not make another run for speaker.
The House looked set to go leaderless for at least a week, as multiple Republicans said they planned to meet on Oct. 10 to discuss possible McCarthy successors, with a vote on a new speaker planned for Oct. 11.
Tuesday’s rebellion was led by Representative Matt Gaetz, a far-right Republican from Florida and McCarthy antagonist who finally turned on the speaker after he on Saturday relied on Democratic votes to help pass a bill to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Ousted Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on October 3 that he has no regrets, as party infighting plunged Congress into further chaos just days after it narrowly averted a government shutdown.
McCarthy had repeatedly angered Democrats in recent weeks, including by launching an impeachment inquiry into Biden and on Saturday by giving them little time to read a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown that he needed their votes to pass.
McCarthy’s ouster as speaker brings legislative activity in the House to a halt, with another government shutdown deadline looming Nov. 17 if Congress does not extend funding.
The White House said it hoped the House would move swiftly to choose a replacement speaker, a position second in line to the presidency after the vice president.
When will the next speaker election be?
The leaders of both parties will have to decide when they are ready to enter into the process of electing a speaker.
The January endeavor was sloppy as McCarthy for days could not get enough votes to win and had to endure 15 ballots.
It could be at least as chaotic this time around for Republicans, unless they conclude that such chaos is creating a public backlash that could doom their election prospects in 2024 and they unite.
(Inputs from Reuters)