(The Hill) – Eight House Republicans joined House Democrats in removing Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his post as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, the first time a Speaker has ever been removed by vote.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) led the motion. The Florida lawmaker has feuded with McCarthy for weeks over debates on passing budget appropriations bills.
Gaetz demanded McCarthy pass bills with steep budget cuts, but McCarthy instead opted to back a deal to avoid a government shutdown with a 45-day, last-second budget extension.
Like Gaetz, the other Republican lawmakers cited either the national debt or broken promises made to the House GOP as their reasons for voting to remove McCarthy.
These are the Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy:
Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.)
Biggs argued McCarthy was no longer an effective leader of the GOP caucus during remarks on the floor Tuesday. He said McCarthy’s passage of the budget continuing resolution made him complicit in failures on the national debt and on immigration policy.
Biggs said McCarthy failed to properly use leverage against the Biden administration over what he viewed as poor border policy.
“Until you leverage the budget and spending, you will not see enforcement by this administration,” Biggs said.
“Speaker McCarthy has failed to demonstrate himself as an effective leader who will change the status quo,” Biggs said in a statement earlier Tuesday. “He has gone against many of the promises he made in January and can no longer be trusted at the helm.”
Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.)
Buck criticized McCarthy on Tuesday for going back on promises he made to members of his caucus when he was elected Speaker in January.
“I supported Kevin McCarthy in January because I thought he was the person best positioned to keep our promises to our constituents,” Buck said in a statement. “It’s clear that we need a principled Speaker who can keep his word not just to members of Congress, but to the American people.”
Rep. Tim Burchett (Tenn.)
In a CNN interview early Tuesday, Burchett revealed that McCarthy called him personally, urging him to support his Speakership bid.
Burchett claimed that, in a conversation, McCarthy “belittled me and my belief system, and that pretty much sealed it with me right there. I thought that showed the character of a man.”
He went on: “I pray for my wife. I pray for my daughter. I pray for my enemies. I pray for the Speaker. I pray for this president, you know, and when things come up, I pray for his son. And as a Christian, that’s what I’m supposed to do. But when someone mocks me like that, and mocks my religion and honestly, the Bible is pretty clear about God being mocked, so that’s what sealed it right there for me.”
In a statement before the vote, Burchett said McCarthy failed on promises he made to pass a budget.
“It’s a tough decision, but I’m poised to vote for the motion to vacate because we are $33 trillion in debt. We either need to change our direction or change our leadership,” he said.
Rep. Eli Crane (Ariz.)
Early Tuesday, Crane alluded to consistent GOP leadership failures but did not mention McCarthy by name.
“Each time our majority has had the chance to fight for bold, lasting change for the American people, leadership folded and passed measures with more Democrat support than Republican,” the Arizona Republican said.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.)
Gaetz led the efforts against McCarthy, criticizing him for budget deals and negotiations with Democrats on the debt ceiling.
“Washington must change. We must put the House of Representatives on a better course. McCarthy has failed to take a stand where it matters. So if he won’t, I will,” he said.
In a post on X after the vote, he pledged to continue his efforts against the former Speaker.
“The fight is not over. Now we must elect a Speaker,” he said.
Rep. Bob Good (Va.)
Good criticized McCarthy for accepting the budget continuing resolution, which kept the government open Saturday. That motion received bipartisan support in the Senate.
“The American people need a Speaker who will fight to keep the promises Republicans made to get the majority, not someone who cuts fiscally irresponsible deals that get more Democrat votes than Republican votes,” he said in a statement.
Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.)
Mace criticized McCarthy for being unable to “keep his word,” saying McCarthy failed to make good on promises to fund the government without extensions.
“Today I voted for the Motion to Vacate and remove the Speaker. This isn’t about left vs right. This isn’t about ideology. This is about trust and keeping your word. This is about making Congress do its job,” she said in a statement.
Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.)
Rosendale cited the national debt in his reasoning on voting to oust McCarthy.
“Our country is facing $33 trillion of debt. Our border is facing an unprecedented invasion. And instead of being energy dominant, we are now energy reliant,” he said in a statement before the vote. “The House of Representatives and the American people deserve a leader who can challenge the status quo and put an end to this ruin.”