Vote to Remove McCarthy Looms as He Faces Off Against Conservative Dissidents, Refusing to Compromise with Democrats

by Madison Thomas
House Leadership Chaos

As Speaker Kevin McCarthy grapples with mounting opposition from far-right factions within his party, he has unequivocally stated that he will not collaborate with Democrats to maintain his leadership role. This sets the scene for an unprecedented and highly volatile confrontation on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The political future of McCarthy, a Republican, hangs in the balance due to a “motion to vacate” initiated by Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, a vocal critic with close ties to Donald Trump. A relatively small number of Republican defections, combined with Democratic support, could be enough to unseat McCarthy from the Speaker’s chair.

During a confidential meeting on Tuesday, McCarthy told his GOP colleagues, “Let’s proceed.” He further commented at the Capitol following the private assembly, “If I were to tally the number of times there were attempts to remove me, I would have been ousted long ago.”

This represents a pivotal juncture for McCarthy, who is facing the most serious threat to his leadership so far. The challenge was triggered by his recent decision to collaborate with Democrats on keeping the federal government operational, thereby averting a shutdown. A number of staunchly conservative Republicans have already voiced their intention to oppose McCarthy, many of whom had previously contested his leadership bid in January.

A procedural vote was slated for Tuesday afternoon to decide whether to table, or postpone, the removal effort for the time being.

Related Stories:

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz Initiates Motion to Unseat Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Plunging House into Fresh Crisis
  • Last-Minute Funding Averts Government Shutdown as Biden Signs Bill
  • McCarthy’s Feud with Far-Right Elements Escalates, Risking Shutdown

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader, expressed a willingness to cooperate with Republicans in a letter to colleagues but declined to supply the votes required to secure McCarthy’s position. “It is now the onus of the GOP members to resolve their internal strife,” Jeffries stated, announcing that the Democratic leadership would support the motion to remove McCarthy.

In separate closed-door meetings at the Capitol, members of both parties convened in anticipation of what could become a landmark vote. McCarthy clarified that he had not sought assistance from Democratic leader Jeffries nor had any concessions been requested in exchange.

During the private meeting, McCarthy drew inspiration from Republican Speaker Joseph Cannon, who over a century ago met his critics head-on by setting a vote for his own potential removal. Cannon successfully thwarted that attempt, which until this moment was the only instance when the House had formally voted on a Speaker’s removal.

According to an anonymous Republican present at the meeting, McCarthy received three standing ovations—first when he approached the microphone, again during his address, and finally upon its conclusion. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., a member of the House Freedom Caucus, indicated that a show of hands in support of McCarthy was “overwhelming.” Gaetz, however, remained silent.

On the Democratic side, a prolonged discussion concluded with a unanimous sentiment: McCarthy is not to be trusted. “There’s a significant lack of good will for Kevin McCarthy,” stated Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. “The country needs a reliable Speaker,” added Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., opined, “McCarthy has gotten himself into this predicament. It’s his responsibility to extricate himself.” Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger remarked, “He has made his own bed.”

If the motion to table the Gaetz proposal fails, the House would brace itself for an unparalleled floor debate, leading to a decisive vote on McCarthy’s removal. The timing of that vote, however, remains uncertain.

Ousting the Speaker would plunge the House Republicans into disarray as they scramble for a new leader. McCarthy himself went through 15 voting rounds over multiple days in January before he was finally able to secure sufficient support. No clear successor within the GOP has been identified.

McCarthy seemed assured of his victory this round but acknowledged it may not settle the matter. Gaetz has signaled that his campaign against the Speaker is not over.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a prominent ally of McCarthy, has taken to social media to call for an end to the turmoil affecting the Republican majority.

This abrupt vote comes amidst Republican efforts to advance annual spending bills, a key demand from Gaetz and others, instead of relying on another temporary measure like the one approved last weekend. Some Republicans would have preferred a government shutdown as a tactic to achieve deeper budget cuts.

Meanwhile, Democrats are also displeased with McCarthy for abandoning a debt agreement he reached with President Joe Biden earlier this year, as he enables his conservative wing to push for drastic reductions in federal spending.

Contributions to this report were made by Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves, and Mary Clare Jalonick from Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kevin McCarthy ouster vote

What is the main issue confronting Speaker Kevin McCarthy?

Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing a “motion to vacate,” a challenge initiated by Rep. Matt Gaetz to remove him from his role as Speaker of the House. McCarthy’s leadership is under scrutiny due to his refusal to cooperate with Democrats and for taking steps that have upset hard-right members of his own party.

Who initiated the motion to remove McCarthy?

The motion to vacate, aimed at removing Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker position, was initiated by Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, a vocal critic of McCarthy and a close ally of Donald Trump.

What is the role of the Democrats in this situation?

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has indicated that he is unwilling to provide the votes needed to save McCarthy. The Democratic leadership has announced that they will vote in favor of the motion to remove him, citing a lack of trust in McCarthy’s leadership.

What was the specific reason behind this challenge to McCarthy’s leadership?

The challenge to McCarthy’s leadership was primarily triggered by his recent decision to collaborate with Democrats to pass a temporary measure that would keep the federal government operational and avoid a shutdown. This has drawn the ire of conservative Republicans.

What would happen if McCarthy is ousted?

If McCarthy is removed from his leadership role, it would likely throw the House Republicans into disarray as they would need to find a new Speaker. McCarthy himself took 15 rounds of voting over multiple days in January to secure enough support to become Speaker. There is currently no obvious successor within the GOP.

What is the procedural step that was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon?

A procedural vote was scheduled to decide whether to table, or postpone, the effort to remove McCarthy from his position as Speaker. This is an interim measure before a possible floor debate and final roll call on McCarthy’s ouster.

How confident is McCarthy about retaining his position?

McCarthy appeared confident he would win this round, but he also acknowledged that it may not be the final challenge to his leadership. He has received multiple standing ovations from GOP members in a private meeting, indicating some level of support within his party.

Are there any notable Republicans supporting McCarthy?

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia and a key ally of McCarthy, has publicly urged support for him and called for an end to the internal chaos within the Republican majority.

More about Kevin McCarthy ouster vote

  • Motion to Vacate: Understanding the Procedure
  • Profile: Who is Rep. Matt Gaetz?
  • The Role of the Speaker of the House
  • Historical Challenges to House Speakership
  • Current State of the U.S. Government Shutdown
  • Biography: Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries
  • Federal Government Spending Bills: What You Need to Know
  • The House Freedom Caucus: Goals and Members
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene: Controversial Statements and Support for McCarthy
  • The Role of Trust in Political Leadership

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Laura Miller October 3, 2023 - 9:33 pm

Are we just ignoring the elephant in the room? Both parties want him out. Thats gotta say something bout his leadership skills. or lack thereof.

William Brown October 3, 2023 - 11:48 pm

How many times can Gaetz actually try to oust him? Seems like he’s out for blood.

Tom Clark October 4, 2023 - 4:09 am

McCarthy received standing ovations? really? From the sound of it, seems he’s a goner.

Emily Adams October 4, 2023 - 6:42 am

If McCarthy is ousted, the GOP’s gonna be a ship without a captain. Who’s next in line? No clear successor means chaos.

Jane Smith October 4, 2023 - 2:46 pm

Wow, McCarthy’s in hot water isn’t he? Didn’t see that coming. Politics is really a brutal game.

Sarah Williams October 4, 2023 - 5:33 pm

this is like, high stakes drama but in politics. Wonder what’s gonna happen next?!

Mike Johnson October 4, 2023 - 5:46 pm

So Dems and GOP both have issues with McCarthy? kinda makes you wonder how he got to be speaker in the first place.


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