Kevin McCarthy ousted from House speakership after Republican rebellion: What you missed

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WASHINGTON — Republican Kevin McCarthy’s deal with hardline House conservatives that handed him the speaker’s gavel in January unraveled on Tuesday as those same right-wing rebels, joined by Democrats, shoved him out of the seat.

McCarthy’s 269-day reign as speaker was ended by a 216-210 vote, a move that has no marker in modern history and paralyzes Congress for the time being.

The rebellion, led by conservative hardliner Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has roiled the House in chaos. The move to oust McCarthy – known as a motion to vacate – had the support of a handful of hard-right lawmakers who have expressed anger at McCarthy for working with Democrats to avert a government shutdown. 

Here's what you missed after a chaotic day in Washington.

  • Gaetz led a group of eight Republicans who voted to remove the speaker, joined by 208 Democrats who at times giggled at the GOP’s infighting.

  • Republicans weren't laughing, however, as the civil war has cast a shadow over their majority.

  • During the debate some accused Gaetz of grandstanding and hurtling the House into chaos without a clear plan as to who, if anyone, would take the job.

Catch up with USA TODAY's coverage of the speaker fight in the halls of Congress.

McCarthy yet to speak with Biden

Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he has not spoken to Joe Biden in a "long long time."

"I've been thinking about that. It's been a long long time," McCarthy said.

McCarthy says he had respect for the president despite their different philosophies, but wished the president was more "hands on."

The timeline raised some eyebrows in Washington, considering Congress last week voted to temporarily avert a government shutdown that would have impacted millions of Americans. But House Republicans have also launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden, claiming he benefitted from his family's business dealings.

− Ken Tran

Pelosi, McCarthy says, vowed to back him up

During his pursuit of the speakership that lasted 15 votes earlier this year, one of McCarthy's key concessions was allowing a single member of Congress to file a motion to vacate.

McCarthy counseled his fellow Californian and former Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for advice. Pelosi, he said, told him to make the concession.

If the motion to vacate ever came up, McCarthy claimed, Pelosi would have backed him up.

− Ken Tran

'I think you've got a real institutional problem,' Kevin McCarthy warns

Noting that only a small minority – 8 members – of the House GOP conference voted to oust McCarthy, the former speaker said there was an "institutional problem."

"I think you've got a real institutional problem," McCarthy said, also joking that if he knew he would eventually be ousted, he wouldn't have helped his opponents get elected.

But McCarthy on Tuesday night also gave some advice the next speaker of the Republican-controlled House where a single member can bring forth a motion to vacate: "Change the rules."

– Ken Tran

Kevin McCarthy: 'I leave the speakership with a sense of pride'

Kevin McCarthy formally announced his intentions to not run again for speaker of the House at a press conference, saying he is making his exit with a "sense of pride and optimism."

The California Republican noted his decision to work with Democrats to avert a government shutdown put his leadership position at stake, but that "doing what's right isn't always easy. But it's necessary."

"I took a risk for the American public," McCarthy said.

− Ken Tran

House adjourns until next Tuesday

In a display of the chaos that has upended the House, lawmakers are headed home until next Tuesday as the lower chamber is now paralyzed without a speaker.

House Republicans will decide on candidates for speaker next Tuesday. The next speaker election is expected to take place next Wednesday.

−Ken Tran

McCarthy will not seek the speakership again

Leaving the closed-door conference meeting, Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., told reporters McCarthy plans to not run again.

The plan, the Oklahoma Republican said, is to adjourn for the night and discuss alternatives to succeed McCarthy

− Ken Tran

Matt Gaetz walks into GOP closed door meeting

Gaetz has entered a closed-door House GOP conference meeting to discuss next steps after he ousted McCarthy as speaker.

He did not answer any questions on his way in.

− Ken Tran

White House pushes House to ‘quickly elect’ McCarthy’s replacement

President Joe Biden wants the Republican-led House of Representatives to move quickly to elect a new speaker to replace McCarthy following his removal, the White House said.

“Because the urgent challenges facing our nation will not wait, he hopes the House will quickly elect a Speaker,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of Biden. “The American people deserve leadership that puts the issues affecting their lives front and center.”

Prior to the vote to vacate McCarthy’s speakership, the White House did not take a public position whether McCarthy should remain in his role and instead deferred to House Democratic leaders who voted to oust McCarthy.

The White House highlighted a “split screen” Tuesday between the chaos in the House and action in the executive branch as Biden announced that all 10 prescription drug drugs tapped for Medicare’s first price negotiations have agreed to participate.

“Once the House has met their responsibility to elect a speaker,” Jean-Pierre said, "he looks forward to working together with them and with the Senate to address the American peoples’ priorities.”

− Joey Garrison

Gaetz, McCarthy's chief antagonist, claims victory

Gaetz, who spearheaded the successful efforts to oust McCarthy from his post, claimed victory on the Capitol steps after the historic vote to remove the speaker.

"It's the benefit of this country that we have a better speaker of the House than Kevin McCarthy," Gaetz told reporters after the vote. "We should elect a speaker who's better."

The Florida conservative taunted his moderate colleagues as House Republicans are expected to huddle to discuss next steps.

"The stages of grief I think are in progress right now with some of my colleagues. I think there was a stage of denial. I've certainly experienced a good amount of their anger. And now we appear to be headed towards bargaining," Gaetz said.

– Ken Tran

GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke: ‘This is a vote without purpose’

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., told reporters that he thinks McCarthy being ousted as speaker is “sad and tragic.”

Zinke said he doesn’t think McCarthy gives up when asked whether the next election in the House for speaker will spark multiple rounds of contentious voting.

“Last week, one of the latest excuses - not valid - is that McCarthy reached out to members that voted with purpose on the continuing resolution," he said, referencing the temporary measure that lawmakers approved to avoid a government shutdown.

"In the last round, the Democrats did vote with purpose. They voted to keep the government open and they voted to keep the policies in place," he said, before calling the vote to remove McCarthy "a vote without purpose. And I always look at purpose and intent.”

– Sudiksha Kochi

GOP lawmaker to lose Republican support over McCarthy vote

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., one of eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy, said he’s already received angry phone calls, less than an hour since the vote ended.

“This will cost me,” Burchett said. “I’ve already gotten the calls from a lot of the big supporters of mine that said they’ll never support me again.”

Burchett said that made it a “tough decision,” but “I worry more about our country.”

When asked who would be picked to replace McCarthy, the Tennessee congressman said he’s been in conversations but didn’t have a name to share. He said there could be about eight lawmakers in the running.

“Members have whispered in my ear,” Burchett said.

– Savannah Kuchar

Republican lawmaker: ‘Much different than the speaker’s election’

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told reporters that the vote to oust McCarthy was “much different than the speaker's election where one wins, one loses,” despite the group of Republicans seeking to remove him from the leadership office.

“It’s certainly a disappointment, and I think those responsible for coordinating reflect on it and I think if they do…I don't think they'll ever think they made the right call, but that's up to them,” Cole said.

– Sudiksha Kochi

Who will be the next speaker of the House? Patrick McHenry?

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is temporarily leading the House after Kevin McCarthy was ousted. McHenry, one of McCarthy's closest allies, is known as the speaker pro tempore.

The speaker pro tempore has far more limited powers compared to a speaker of the House, but he will preside over the lower chamber until a new speaker is elected.

– Marina Pitofsky

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walking from chambers after being voted out as Speaker of the House on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walking from chambers after being voted out as Speaker of the House on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Who voted against Kevin McCarthy

In a historic turn of events, McCarthy has been ousted as speaker, leaving the House in turmoil as lawmakers must elect a new permanent speaker.

Eight GOP lawmakers voted to eject McCarthy from the speakership, they are:

  • Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

  • Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.

  • Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.

  • Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz.

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

  • Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

  • Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C.

  • Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.

– Ken Tran

Kevin McCarthy is ousted, House moves to elect new speaker

Conservative rebels successfully ousted McCarthy as speaker, plunging the House into chaos as lawmakers move to elect a new speaker. House Democrats, who voted against the motion to table, joined the conservative hardliners in ejecting McCarthy from the speakership. The vote to oust McCarthy was 216-210.

McCarthy, even though he was ousted, is still able to run again as speaker if nominated by a lawmaker. In the meantime, an acting interim speaker must be named, but they will have limited power.

– Ken Tran

In sign of hope for McCarthy, one GOP vote flips in his favor

In a glimmer of hope for McCarthy’s speakership, Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio., who voted against the motion to delay Gaetz’ effort to oust him, also voted against the motion to vacate.

Davidson’s vote is a sign there could be more conservative hardliners who flip in favor of McCarthy.

– Ken Tran

House starts roll call vote to decide Kevin McCarthy's fate

As the House starts voting on whether or not to eject McCarthy from the speakership, a sense of deja vu has fallen on the House floor, as lawmakers are voting through voice vote, similar to how lawmakers voted during the speaker election back in January.

It will take a while. Each lawmaker has to be called one-by-one to declare their vote.

– Ken Tran

Matt Gaetz calls Biden impeachment inquiry ‘failure theater’

Gaetz, making his case to oust McCarthy, slammed Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden as “failure theater.”

In the first impeachment inquiry hearing targeting Biden last week, three expert witnesses invited by Republicans each told the House Oversight Committee no evidence has emerged that Biden committed an impeachable offense. It was a setback in Republican efforts to impeach Biden.

“It’s hard to make the argument that oversight is the reason to continue when it looks like failure theater,” said Gaetz, responding to comments earlier by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who defended McCarthy.

– Joey Garrison

GOP yells ‘Shame!’ at Gaetz for fundraising off motion to vacate

One of Kevin McCarthy’s top lieutenants, Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., defended the speaker in an impassioned speech, also lambasting Matt Gaetz for fundraising off of his efforts to oust McCarthy as speaker.

“Using official actions to raise money, it’s disgusting,” Graves said.

When Graves held up his phone displaying one of Gaetz’ fundraising messages, GOP lawmakers yelled “Shame!” at Gaetz.

– Ken Tran

Gaetz met with silence as he debates McCarthy allies

In a display of just how much power a handful of conservative hardliners wield over the the House, Matt Gaetz has responded to nearly every Kevin McCarthy ally speaking on the California Republicans’ behalf on the House floor.

The contrast between the two factions couldn’t be any more clear.

While McCarthy allies including Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., and Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. has received overwhelming applause from GOP lawmakers after their remarks, Gaetz’ speeches have been met with silence.

– Ken Tran

What happens if McCarthy is ousted?

If the House votes to oust McCarthy, then someone would have to fill his position temporarily until an election is set and the next speaker is chosen in the lower chamber.

That temporary replacement would be chosen from a succession list McCarthy submitted in January. According to Rule one, clause 8 of House rules, the next person on the list “shall act as Speaker pro tempore until the election of a Speaker or a Speaker pro tempore.”

“Pending such election the Member acting as Speaker pro tempore may exercise such authorities of the Office of Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate to that end,” the House rules say.

The rules don’t specify how long the person would temporarily fill the speaker’s spot. It is unclear when the House would choose to hold an election for the next speaker if McCarthy is removed.

– Sudiksha Kochi

McCarthy nearly expressionless as House Republicans debate his fate

While House Republicans debate on McCarthy’s fate as speaker, the California Republican, sitting in the second row from the front of the floor, has been nearly expressionless, only occasionally chatting with Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., who is seated next to him.

– Ken Tran

Is GOP hostage to right-flank of party?

The 11 Republican lawmakers who joined Democrats to vote against a procedural vote delaying the motion to vacate now leads to a final vote on the House floor to oust McCarthy.

These 11 Republicans include some of the most ultra-conservative members of the Republican conference, including members of the House Freedom Caucus like Reps. Bob Good of Virginia, Ken Buck of Colorado, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Rosendale of Montana and Eli Crane of Arizona.

Despite comprising a minority of the Republican caucus, these ultra-conservative members, with help from the other side of the aisle, may be the reason McCarthy is removed from his speakership.

Some, like Good, listed their grievances with McCarthy as speaker. Good called it a “totally avoidable situation.”

“We need a speaker who will fight for something, anything, besides just staying or becoming speaker,” Good said.

- Rachel Looker

Democrats stand aside as House Republicans debate among themselves

While Kevin McCarthy's allies and the conservative hardliners against the speaker debate on the House floor over his speakership, Democrats have stayed on the sidelines watching House Republicans quarrel amongst themselves.

As the rest of the House GOP conference cheered on McCarthy's allies and jeered at Gaetz, House Democrats remained silent, reflecting Jeffries and leadership's intention for House Republicans to settle the matter within their own conference.

– Ken Tran

Republican calls McCarthy ouster 'totally avoidable situation'

Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., who voted against tabling the motion to vacate against McCarthy, spoke on the House floor after the vote listing his grievances with McCarthy and calling it a “totally avoidable situation.”

Good said back in January during the votes that made McCarthy speaker, he persuaded five of his colleagues to vote present in the final vote that allowed McCarthy to win his leadership role. He claimed he continued to work with McCarthy and persuade some of his ultra-conservative colleagues to support McCarthy’s priorities throughout the year.

The Virginia lawmaker claimed McCarthy made a promise to bring 12 spending bills to the floor individually this year, which did not happen as Congress lurched toward a government shutdown this weekend. Good said he reluctantly agreed to vote for a short-term solution to avert a shutdown, despite the promise McCarthy made

“We need a speaker who will fight for something, anything besides just staying and becoming speaker,” Good said.

– Rachel Looker

McCarthy ally: ‘This is a very sad day’

Speaking on behalf of McCarthy and his allies on the House floor, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., chair of the House Rules Committee, praised the California Republicans’ leadership through multiple tough votes that put McCarthy’s speakership into question, including negotiations over the debt ceiling earlier this year and the recent government shutdown crisis.

“We were on the verge of a government shutdown,” Cole said. “He put his political neck on the line … to do the right thing.”

“He did the right thing for our party,” Cole added, earning a standing ovation from the majority of the House GOP conference.

– Ken Tran

Who will serve as speaker if Kevin McCarthy is ousted?

That's not clear.

If McCarthy is removed from his leadership role a temporary speaker would lead in the House. McCarthy submitted a succession list to the House clerk in January, though the document is private.

But who's likely on that list? Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority leader, is a likely option. So is Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the majority whip, another crucial leadership position.

– Marina Pitofsky and Sudiksha Kochi

Texas Republican concerned about upcoming vote to remove McCarthy

There is not a clear name for McCarthy’s successor, should the speaker be ousted, said Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-TX.

“There’s not really an option. Another reason this is very silly,” he said.

The Texas congressman said he’s worried about the message today’s events will send to voters about the GOP.

“It’s clear that there’s just a group of people that don’t want conservatives to win,” Crenshaw said. “And they label themselves as the most conservative, which is not possibly true.”

– Savannah Kuchar

President Joe Biden stays out of Kevin McCarthy speakership fight

The White House is staying out of the fight over McCarthy’s speakership – seemingly more than happy to watch Republicans beat up each other.

“We’re just not going to get involved,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday, deferring to House Democratic leaders who have vowed they won’t help McCarthy.

Jean-Pierre said it is “nothing new” for the White House not to weigh in on congressional leadership decisions.

“Is there chaos in the House Republicans? Absolutely. That is something that they have to deal with,” Jean-Pierre said.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden said, “I don't have a vote on that matter. I'll leave that to the leadership of the House and the Senate.”

– Joey Garrison

'Get a time machine'

When asked whether there was anything McCarthy could do to change anything, Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told reporters that he could “get a time machine and bring us all back to the table like I suggested two months ago and keep his word.”

Burchett added that “everything’s always chaos..this country was built on chaos” and said he was more concerned about the dollar collapsing and the economy failing.

“It scares me a lot worse,” Burchett said.

– Sudiksha Kochi

11 GOP lawmakers vote against McCarthy in setback to his speakership

11 GOP lawmakers voted against the motion to table the effort to oust McCarthy in a massive setback for the speaker. The House will on the motion to vacate McCarthy, which is the formal vote that will decide his speakership.

The members that voted against McCarthy are:

  • Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

  • Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.

  • Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.

  • Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz.

  • Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

  • Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

  • Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C.

  • Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla.

  • Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.

  • Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind.

– Ken Tran

Motion to table fails: McCarthy’s speakership closer to the brink

Kevin McCarthy faced a severe setback when a handful of conservative hardliners and House Democrats voted against a procedural motion – known as a motion to table – to discard Gaetz’ efforts to oust the California Republican as speaker. The vote failed by 208-218

The House will immediately vote now on the motion to vacate to determine whether McCarthy stays in his post.

– Ken Tran

White House vows US support for Ukraine won’t waver if McCarthy loses job

The White House expressed confidence Tuesday that Congress will continue to support aid for Ukraine if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is ousted from his speakership.

“Regardless of what happens in the House of Representatives,” said John Kirby, a White House spokesman on national security issues, “all the House leadership is supportive of continuing to help Ukraine and the vast majority of House members on the Republican side are in support.”

President Joe Biden is pushing Congress to approve additional aid to help Ukraine fight Russia after Congress passed a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown for several weeks that lacked Ukraine funding to appease hardline Republicans. A growing number of far-right Republicans in the House oppose continued support of Ukraine.

McCarthy, whose speakership is in jeopardy, has backed Ukraine funding in the past but said he wants future financial support for Ukraine to be tied to additional security on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We don't believe they should be tied, or one dependent on the other, but both are important,” Kirby said.

Biden held a phone call with NATO allies Tuesday in which he “reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes as it,” the White House said.

“As winter fast approaches, it is imperative that we help them take advantage of every single day,” Kirby said. “A lapse of support for even a short period of time can make all the difference on the battlefield.”

– Joey Garrison

Donald Trump: Why are Republicans 'always fighting among themselves'?

While attending his bank fraud trial in New York for a second day, Donald Trump found time Tuesday to weigh in on the drama surrounding McCarthy - sort of.

Trump did not mention McCarthy or Gaetz by name in a Truth Social post, nor has he taken a public position on their dispute, but he did criticize GOP in-fighting.

Said the former president: "Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?"

– David Jackson

Nancy Pelosi says Democrats aren't taking up speaker fight

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, shared in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that "In this Congress, it is the responsibility of House Republicans to choose a nominee & elect the Speaker on the Floor."

"At this time there is no justification for a departure from this tradition," she added.

Her comments come as House Democrats have vowed not to step in and save Kevin McCarthy from a rebellion from his fellow Republicans.

– Marina Pitofsky

Politics: Will Kevin McCarthy be forced out as Speaker of the House? Here's how it could happen.

Absences could save McCarthy

Ahead of the procedural vote to suspend Gaetz’ motion to vacate against McCarthy, the California Republican could be saved due to absences.

The procedural vote – referred to as a motion to table – requires just a simple majority rather than an absolute majority. That means McCarthy does not technically need 218 votes to table the motion to vacate, but rather just more votes to table the motion than against it.

Both House Republicans and House Democrats are seeing absences that could factor into McCarthy’s survival.

It is unclear how many absences there are on each side, but House Democrats are currently voting by hand in an unrelated vote series likely to buy more time for their rank and file members to make it to the crucial vote on McCarthy’s fate.

– Ken Tran

‘We’ll see what happens’: Lawmakers enter House chamber for votes

As lawmakers file into the House chamber, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., took a swipe at Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., when asked about the upcoming vote against McCarthy. Greene has long supported the speaker.

“Are we all gonna be dressing like John Fetterman here pretty soon when we don’t have a speaker and don’t have rules,” Greene said. “We’ll see what happens.”

– Savannah Kuchar

Who's trying to oust Kevin McCarthy? Matt Gaetz, Freedom Caucus members

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a motion Monday night to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from the top position in the House.

His motion came after a contentious week of negotiations to avoid a government shutdown, during which Gaetz had previously threatened to oust McCarthy if the Speaker looked across the aisle for support.

But Gaetz is joined in the push by several members tied to the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, including Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs.

What happens if there's a government shutdown and no speaker of the House?

If McCarthy is ousted by his fellow Republicans, and Democrats refuse to step in and help him, a temporary speaker would lead in the House. McCarthy submitted a succession list to the House clerk in January, though the document is private.

That means the House could continue with its important business, as lawmakers have just weeks to compromise on a slate of spending bills to avoid a government shutdown.

– Marina Pitofsky

What happens if Congress ousts McCarthy?

If the House decides to remove McCarthy as speaker, then someone from a private backup list provided by McCarthy at the beginning of the year will fill his slot until a new election is held.

“There's a little disagreement amongst Hill procedural experts about how much power that temporary Speaker would actually wield,” Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told The Washington Post.

However, McCarthy can choose to run as speaker again. It is unclear when the House would hold that vote.

– Sudiksha Kochi

Motion to vacate history: Has a speaker of the House ever been removed? 

The last time the House voted on a motion to vacate was 1910 against then-Speaker Joseph Cannon, R-Ill. In 2015, then-Rep. Mark Meadows filed a motion against Speaker John Boehner, but it never made it to a floor vote.

A House speaker has never been removed via a motion to vacate. Boehner resigned months after Meadows' motion amid continued dissent in his party.

– Savannah Kuchar

Capitol Hill in turmoil

The move to oust Kevin McCarthy has consumed the House in turmoil as lawmakers strategize over how to approach the conservative rebellion against the California Republican.

McCarthy, exiting a closed-door weekly conference meeting, told reporters firmly he wouldn't entertain working with Democrats to save his speakership and conceded that "I'm out" if a handful of Republicans decide to boot him from the speakership.

In their own extended closed-door conference meeting to discuss strategy, to prevent leaks, House Democratic lawmakers were barred from bringing in their phones to the meeting as leadership decided on whether or not to bail McCarthy out.

– Ken Tran

House Democrats will vote to remove Kevin McCarthy

In a lengthy letter sent to House Democrats, Jeffries said leadership will vote to vacate McCarthy from the speakership.

"It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War. Given their unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism in an authentic and comprehensive manner, House Democratic leadership will vote yes on the pending Republican Motion to Vacate the Chair," the letter reads.

House Democrats have for days said they will vote in line with their leadership. Jeffries' statement means that McCarthy's speakership will hinge on uniting enough House Republicans behind him to defeat the conservative rebellion.

– Ken Tran

What state does Kevin McCarthy represent? How long has Kevin McCarthy been in Congress?

Kevin McCarthy was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives in 2007. He represents California's 20th House District, which includes parts of Kern, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties.

Congress voted to make McCarthy speaker of the House in January, after a marathon 15 rounds of votes. He faced objections from some of the same hard-right lawmakers in January during his bid to become speaker that he faces now as they seek to remove him.

– Marina Pitofsky

Is McCarthy being impeached?

No, Kevin McCarthy is facing what's known as a motion to vacate, which could remove him from his role as speaker of the House, a role that's in line behind the vice president to succeed the presidency, if needed.

Impeachment is a process designed to remove presidents from office, along with other federal officials. House Republicans have opened up an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, but they haven't approved any formal articles of impeachment against him.

− Marina Pitofsky

What is a motion to vacate?

A motion to vacate is a congressional procedure initiated by a House member that calls for the removal of a sitting House speaker and the election of a new one, according to Ballotpedia.

While the motion can be brought forth by one person, there must be a majority vote in the House to remove the top leader.

Under House rules, the motion must be voted on in two legislative days.

Sudiksha Kochi

Will Democrats help McCarthy?

The answer is likely no.

As of noon on Tuesday, it appears Democrats will remain unified and vote to remove McCarthy from his role as speaker of the House.

“House Democrats are going to continue to push people over politics,” House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told reporters Tuesday.

“We are ready to find bipartisan common ground,” he added in a post on X, formerly Twitter. "Our extreme colleagues have shown no willingness to do the same. They must find a way to end the House Republican Civil War.”

Other lawmakers made clear they support House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. call to “end the House Republican Civil War.”

“I hope everybody votes no on the motion to table. I expect everybody to be unified,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Tuesday after leaving a Democratic caucus meeting.

The New Democrat Coalition also stands unified behind Jeffries.

“New Dems are proud to stand with our leader and our caucus to deliver progress for the American people,” Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., chair of the coalition, said in a statement.

– Rachel Looker and Ken Tran 

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters after a closed-door meeting with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other House Republicans after Gaetz filed a motion to oust McCarthy from his leadership role, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters after a closed-door meeting with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other House Republicans after Gaetz filed a motion to oust McCarthy from his leadership role, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.

How did we get here?

Among one of the key concessions McCarthy made to conservative hardliners in his bid for the speakership in January was allowing a single lawmaker to initiate a motion to vacate.

Previous speakers set parameters on how lawmakers could try to oust these leaders, from only allowing party leadership to attempt to eject the speaker or requiring multiple lawmakers to agree on a motion to vacate.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has repeatedly flirted with ousting McCarthy since Republicans took control of the House but the Florida Republican finally followed up on his threats after McCarthy worked with Democrats to avert a government shutdown over the weekend.

“I believe the basis for the motion to vacate is Kevin McCarthy’s repeated breach of the agreement that he made in January,” Gaetz told reporters Monday after formally filing the motion to oust McCarthy, alleging the speaker broke an agreement – that was never released on paper – he made with hardline conservatives in January.

– Ken Tran

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin McCarthy ousted as speaker in historic house vote: Recap