October 3, 2023 - Kevin McCarthy ousted as Speaker of the House

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:34 p.m. ET, October 4, 2023
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4:51 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

JUST IN: House ousts Kevin McCarthy as speaker

From CNN's Clare Foran, Melanie Zanona, Haley Talbot and Kristin Wilson

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks with reporters after a House Republican conference meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks with reporters after a House Republican conference meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The US House of Representatives has voted to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy in a historic vote on Tuesday.

The vote on the motion to vacate was 216-210 with eight Republicans voting to remove McCarthy from the speakership.

The Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy were: Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Nancy Mace and Matt Rosendale.

The House will now need to elect a new speaker, but there is no clear alternative who would have the support needed to win the gavel.

No House speaker has ever before been ousted through the passage of a resolution to remove them.

4:26 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

House now voting on resolution to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker

From CNN's Clare Foran, Melanie Zanona, Haley Talbot and Kristin Wilson

Members of the US House vote on the motion to vacate the speaker's chair.
Members of the US House vote on the motion to vacate the speaker's chair. House TV

The House is now voting on the motion to vacate the speaker's chair. It requires a majority vote to succeed and would oust Kevin McCarthy from his leadership post.

Beforehand, his Republican allies and detractors spoke for an hour on the reasons McCarthy should stay or be removed from his position.

Earlier Tuesday, the House failed to table – or block – the effort to oust him by a vote of 208 to 218 with 11 Republicans voting against the motion to table.

A bloc of hardline conservatives, led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, have continued to thwart McCarthy, voting against key priorities of GOP leadership and repeatedly throwing up roadblocks to the speaker’s agenda.

4:26 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Tense exchange among lawmakers on House floor about Gaetz fundraising off of vote to oust McCarthy

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Melanie Zanona

GOP Rep. Garret Graves on Tuesday criticized Rep. Matt Gaetz for using the vote to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as a means to fundraise for himself and not donating to fellow Republican lawmakers.

While speaking in defense of McCarthy on the House floor, Graves held up his phone to show fundraising emails Gaetz has sent in the lead up to announcing a motion to oust McCarthy. 

“It’s disgusting,” Graves said. 

The majority of House Republicans cheered Graves, as many are frustrated that Gaetz has focused on fundraising for himself and not donating to the team. 

Gaetz responded by saying, “I take no lecture on asking patriotic Americans to weigh in and contribute to this fight.”

He went on to accuse House Republicans of being owned by lobbyists and special interests, which elicited boos from other Republicans.

“Boo all you want” Gaetz yelled back. 

One source pointed out to CNN that Gaetz has only given about $85,000 to the House Republican campaign arm since he was elected and hasn’t given anything in the 2022 or 2024 cycle. 

3:55 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Democratic lawmaker hoping to get back in time to vote to oust McCarthy

From CNN's Haley Talbot, Annie Grayer and Kristin Talbot

Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson is trying to get back to the Capitol in time for the final vote to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, multiple sources tell CNN.

The more House Democrats are present, the harder it will be for McCarthy to ultimately prevail. 

In the first vote series, there were five House Democrats absent, including Wilson. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Rep. Cori Bush are not expected to return to Washington, DC, for the vote. 

3:29 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

McCarthy's detractors and allies weigh in on speaker. Here's what some of them are saying

From CNN's Annie Grayer

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan.
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan. House TV

Now that the House has failed to block the effort to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, lawmakers are debating whether to vacate the chair.

The floor speeches are a window into what McCarthy’s allies are saying – and why his opponents don't want him as the GOP leader.

GOP Rep. Bob Good, one of 11 House Republicans to support a vote to oust McCarthy, said, “We need a speaker, who will fight something, anything besides just staying or becoming speaker.”

McCarthy's ally, House Rules Chairman Tom Cole, described McCarthy’s opponents as “a small group honestly, they’re willing to plunge this body into chaos and this country into uncertainty for reasons that only they understand. I certainly don’t.” 

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is leading the effort against McCarthy, responded to Cole by saying, “Chaos is Speaker McCarthy. Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word.” 

Another McCarthy ally, Rep. Tom Emmer, argued that “now it’s time to stand together stronger than ever so we can get back to the work our majority was elected to do. I’m proud to support the speaker.”

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, who walks the line of being part of the far-right House Freedom Caucus but also a McCarthy ally, said “Kevin McCarthy has been rock solid.”  

CNN has reported that Gaetz has floated veteran Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and House GOP Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota to House Democrats as alternatives to McCarthy.

3:22 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

GOP Rep. Crenshaw says he's feeling "exhaustion" ahead of the speaker removal vote

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw said it’s a feeling of “exhaustion” when asked to react to hardliners joining with Democrats to force a vote removing Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker. 

He also said some of the GOP defections were a surprise, but surmised they might just be trying to leverage their votes for concessions from McCarthy before the final vote. 

But there are no signs of any dealing right now, with McCarthy and nearly everyone else planted in their seats for this debate. 

3:24 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

McCarthy seated silently in second row as House debates his future

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sits in the second row on the floor while members debate whether to remove him at the Capitol on Tuesday.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sits in the second row on the floor while members debate whether to remove him at the Capitol on Tuesday. House TV

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is seated silently in the second row on the floor while members debate whether to remove him. He is not talking to anyone and has been looking at his phone.

In fact, nearly everyone is seated in the chamber for the debate and very few people are talking to one another.

When the motion to table failed, and the vote tally was announced, it was so silent a pin drop could be heard. No one reacted to the news.

One of McCarthy’s staffers then motioned to Rep. Matt Gaetz to tell him what to do next; Gaetz looked unsure of where to go. 

3:12 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Gaetz: "Chaos is Speaker McCarthy"

Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Rep. Matt Gaetz. House TV

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is heading the charge to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, said that leadership under the Republican leader has been chaotic.

Chaos is Speaker McCarthy. Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word," he said on the House floor on Tuesday.

Gaetz said that the one thing the White House, House Democrats and the Republican conservative caucus have in common is that they cannot rely on McCarthy.

"Kevin McCarthy said something to all of us at one point or another, that he didn't really mean and never intended to live up to," Gaetz said.

3:06 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Republican lawmaker says McCarthy should remain Speaker — and the House should vote for as long as it takes

From Abby Baggini--

Republican Rep. Greg Murphy told CNN's Manu Raju that Kevin McCarthy should endure the fight to maintain his speakership for as long as it takes and called Gaetz's motion-to-vacate an "asinine gesture."

"I think absolutely he should continue. In my eyes, he's done nothing wrong," Murphy said. "It took 15 votes before, if it takes 16 or 17, so be it," he added, referring to the painstaking negations and series of failed votes it took before McCarthy was elected speaker earlier this year.

Murphy said he doubts, however, that a fight over the speakership would last long enough to risk a government shutdown and predicted McCarthy would still be speaker next week.

"It's going to take lots of rounds," Murphy said. "He is going to go the distance."

Murphy criticized his GOP colleague Rep. Matt Gaetz for bringing the motion to the floor, yet failing to provide an alternative candidate for the speakership.

"You can embrace chaos, but if you don't have an answer, get out of the way," Murphy said.