Eight Republicans Break Ranks to Oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House

by Gabriel Martinez
Ousting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House

Rep. Kevin McCarthy had the backing of 208 members within his conference to retain his position as Speaker of the House. However, a group of eight Republicans from his own party broke ranks and joined Democrats in an unprecedented move to remove him from his role.

This small faction of Republicans aligned with Democrats to create a historic moment, marking McCarthy as the first Speaker in American history to be ousted by a vote from his peers.

The majority of these eight dissenters have been long-standing critics of McCarthy. They expressed dissatisfaction with McCarthy’s agreement with President Joe Biden aimed at averting a federal default. They also opposed the recent legislation passed by Congress to maintain current funding levels for the federal government through mid-November.

While most of these eight are fiscal conservatives who initially opposed McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker, McCarthy countered by saying that he doesn’t view these individuals as true conservatives.

“They can’t claim to be conservative just because they’re discontented and unruly,” McCarthy said. “The party I belong to—the Reagan party—held the belief that one could govern conservatively if one adhered to their principles. These individuals neither qualify as conservatives nor have the right to claim the title.”

Though each lawmaker had unique grievances, the group generally expressed frustration with McCarthy’s legislative priorities in the House, particularly concerning spending bills. Some also accused him of lacking trustworthiness and failing to honor agreements made when he first became Speaker—claims McCarthy vehemently denied when announcing he would not run for the position again.

Profiles of the Eight Republicans Who Voted Against McCarthy


Biggs is in his fourth term, representing a predominantly Republican district in Arizona. He previously chaired the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus and was a contender for the Speaker position. A staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, Biggs criticized the delay in passing annual funding bills, which, according to him, are vital for fiscal responsibility.


In his fifth term, Buck represents a Colorado district. He has a reputation for being a fiscal conservative who occasionally challenges party leadership. Buck was critical of McCarthy’s decision to launch an impeachment inquiry against Biden and also took issue with McCarthy’s approach to government spending.


Burchett, representing a district in eastern Tennessee, is in his third term in the House. He criticized the House’s lack of action in August, given the urgent need to pass spending bills before the fiscal year’s end.


A representative of an Arizona district, Crane is a former Navy SEAL with 13 years of military service. He opposed McCarthy’s bid for Speaker from the outset and recently criticized the leadership’s lack of commitment to significant legislative changes.


Representing a Florida district in his fourth term, Gaetz is a close ally of Trump. He led the charge against McCarthy on the House floor and faced backlash from party members for causing discord.


Good won his seat in 2020, representing a Virginia district. While initially supporting McCarthy for Speaker, he later expressed disappointment in the compromise made to avert a government shutdown.


In her second term, Mace represents a South Carolina district. She emphasized that her vote against McCarthy was not ideologically driven but centered on issues of trust and accountability.


Representing a Montana district, Rosendale is in his second term. A fiscal conservative, he opposed U.S. support for Ukraine and emphasized the need for strong leadership to tackle the country’s challenges.

Each of these lawmakers has made it clear that they were motivated by a range of concerns, but collectively they have changed the course of history by voting to remove McCarthy from his role as Speaker of the House.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ousting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House

What led to Kevin McCarthy’s removal as Speaker of the House?

Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position as Speaker of the House due to a lack of support from a small but significant group of eight Republicans in his party. These dissenters joined Democrats in voting against McCarthy, making it the first time in U.S. history that a Speaker has been voted out by his colleagues.

Who were the key Republicans involved in ousting McCarthy?

The key Republicans involved were Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Nancy Mace, and Matt Rosendale. Each had their specific grievances against McCarthy, ranging from dissatisfaction with his legislative priorities to questioning his integrity and reliability.

What were the primary complaints against McCarthy?

The complaints against McCarthy were multifaceted but generally revolved around his handling of priority legislation, particularly spending bills. Many of the dissenters were fiscal conservatives who were unhappy with the federal government’s operational funding levels. Some also expressed mistrust in McCarthy, citing broken promises and a lack of transparency.

How did Kevin McCarthy respond to his ouster?

McCarthy responded by challenging the conservative credentials of the dissenting Republicans. He said they were not true conservatives and did not have the right to identify as such. He also claimed that their actions were motivated by anger and chaos rather than genuine conservative principles.

What are the implications for the Republican Party?

The removal of McCarthy as Speaker has led to a scramble for a new Republican leader and has exposed significant rifts within the party. It has also strained relationships among lawmakers and created a sense of upheaval in Washington.

What is the historical significance of this event?

This event is historically significant because it marks the first time a Speaker of the House has been voted out of the position by colleagues. The occurrence highlights deep divisions not only between Republicans and Democrats but also within the Republican Party itself.

What is expected to happen next?

While the immediate future is uncertain, the focus will likely be on identifying a new Speaker who can command the respect and support of the majority of House members. Additionally, this event may catalyze further discussions and potentially reforms concerning how legislation is prioritized and passed in the House.

How did fiscal issues play a role in the dissent against McCarthy?

Most of the eight dissenting Republicans are fiscal hardliners who opposed the deal McCarthy made with President Joe Biden to avoid a federal default. They were also frustrated by the failure to pass 12 annual funding bills before the end of the fiscal year, necessitating a stopgap spending bill.

What kind of political repercussions could this have for the dissenting Republicans?

The political repercussions for the dissenting Republicans are still uncertain. While they have made a significant statement against the status quo, their actions may also isolate them within their own party, potentially impacting their political futures.

More about Ousting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House

  • Background on Kevin McCarthy’s Tenure as Speaker
  • Profile of Dissenting Republicans
  • Historical Overview of Speaker of the House Removals
  • Fiscal Concerns in U.S. Legislation
  • Congressional Voting Records on Priority Legislation
  • Analysis: Rifts within the Republican Party
  • Guide to the Legislative Process in the House of Representatives
  • Official Statement from Kevin McCarthy on His Ouster
  • Summary of Political Repercussions for the GOP

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AutomotiveFan October 4, 2023 - 6:08 am

Off topic but how’s this gonna affect other policy stuff? Like trade, automotive regs etc. Anyone?

TheRealist October 4, 2023 - 9:15 am

Everyones talking bout the 8 who voted him out, but what about the 208 who supported him? They’re still a majority.

PoliticalAnalyst October 4, 2023 - 9:51 am

This isn’t just a shakeup, it’s a quake in the GOP landscape. gonna be interesting to see the aftershocks and who rises to the top.

JohnDoe123 October 4, 2023 - 11:42 am

Wow, this is huge news! McCarthy’s out, and the party’s clearly divided. What’s next for the GOP?

PolicyWonk October 4, 2023 - 3:09 pm

Didnt think I’d see the day when a Speaker gets ousted by their own team. Historic for sure, but what does this mean for future legislation?

CivicMindedMe October 4, 2023 - 3:09 pm

Can’t believe it took just 8 republicans to shake things up this much. Shows you the power of a small group when they’re really committed.

FinancialGuru October 4, 2023 - 10:07 pm

Look at the fiscal concerns! Its about time someone takes these issues seriously. We’re $33 trillion in debt people!

ConcernedVoter October 5, 2023 - 1:19 am

If they can’t even agree on a Speaker, how are they gonna pass any meaningful legislation? just saying.

SkepticalSally October 5, 2023 - 1:33 am

McCarthy says they aren’t conservatives, they say he’s not a good leader. He said, she said. Wonder who’s telling the truth.


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