Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (C) walks back to his office after the House of Representatives voted to remove him from his leadership position at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 03 October 2023. EFE/EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Republican Kevin McCarthy is removed as leader of the US House of Representatives

Washington, Oct 3 (EFE).- Republican Kevin McCarthy was ousted on Tuesday as leader of the US House of Representatives following a motion against him by a party member in retaliation for concessions to the Democrats.

The resolution, introduced Monday by ultra-conservative Matt Gaetz of Florida, was approved by a vote of 216 to 210, making history as the first time such a motion has been approved.

McCarthy will be replaced interim by fellow Republican Patrick McHenry, who represents North Carolina’s 10th district.

Gaetz, who opposed McCarthy’s nomination as chairman from the start, had threatened for months to activate the process to remove him from office. That threat was ramped up last weekend after McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to advance the bill that avoided a government shutdown by extending funding for the government for 45 days on critical issues.

Although McCarthy said Tuesday that he was confident he had enough support to remain at the helm, his fortunes began to turn when Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries instructed members of his caucus to vote to oust him.

As of the November midterm elections, conservatives hold 221 seats in the House, while Democrats have 212.

Gaetz is a member of the Freedom Caucus, the wing of the Republican Party most sympathetic to former President Donald Trump (2017-2021).

To trigger the motion, only one lawmaker, either a Democrat or a Republican, needed to bring it up, and that vote needed to reach a simple majority. Since there are two vacancies in the House of Representatives, that number was 217 votes.

Only two other Speakers of the House in the last century have been the subject of a motion against them, both unsuccessfully: Republicans Joseph Cannon in 1910 and John Boehner in 2015.

On the latter occasion, it did not come to a vote. Still, the motion’s introduction catalyzed Boehner’s resignation months later.

Under House rules, the Speaker himself must draw up a list of potential replacements if his seat is declared vacant. That list is made public only in the event of such a situation, and the person chosen serves on an interim basis until the election of the new leader. EFE