Kevin McCarthy‘s future as Speaker of the House is hanging by a thread after a bid to delay the vote to oust him failed in dramatic scenes in Congress.

Eleven Republicans joined Democrats and voted against a motion to table, and the House must now take up the motion to vacate and vote on it. The House will now debate the motion to vacate and is expected to vote on it later today. 

All or nearly all Democrats are expected to vote ‘yes’ on that motion – in addition to a handful of Republicans. 

Two of the 11 Republicans who voted not to delay the vacate vote, Reps. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, and Victoria Spartz, Ind., are expected to vote in support of McCarthy. 

If McCarthy is ousted the House would then be thrown into chaos as Republicans grapple to decide on a new leader – a process that could drag on to many ballots, just as it did in January when McCarthy finally won the gavel. 

‘Chaos is Speaker McCarthy,’ Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who started off the firestorm by introducing the motion to vacate, said on the House floor. ‘$33 trillion in debt is chaos.’ 

Gaetz noted that many of the House Republicans’ ‘achievements’ amount to bills that will never pass the Senate and become law – to boos from the GOP side of the chamber and called the Biden impeachment inquiry ‘failure theater’ as he dinged GOP leaders for not issuing a subpoena for Hunter Biden.  

‘We need a new speaker – ideally, somebody who doesn’t want it, hasn’t pursued it all his entire adult life,’ GOP Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., added  on the House floor. 

The anti-McCarthy Republicans have not coalesced around one alternative they’d like to put up for speaker. Gaetz has noted that the speaker does not even have to be a member of the House. 

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told reporters there are ‘plenty of people’ who good do the job better than McCarthy. Gaetz said Monday night he’d like to see Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is battling blood cancer, in the role, but seemed open to other options. 

Burchett also said he wanted a speaker who didn’t want the job so badly. 

He said last week he had a conversation with McCarthy, ‘the last thing he said was ‘I really wanna be speaker.’ And I think that sums up the whole thing … it’s not about one person.’

But McCarthy’s allies could continue to put him up for speaker again.  

During a press conference before the vote McCarthy vowed to ‘never give up’ as he insisted he would not cut a deal with Democrats to win their votes and projected confidence that he’d remain speaker. 

He has insisted that the matter is a battle over stability of ‘the institution’ and invoked former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to the motion to vacate. 

If McCarthy is ousted he would be the first speaker ever removed from his job. The last time the House voted on a motion to vacate was in 1910 under House Speaker Joseph Cannon.

McCarthy and his allies have long insisted Gaetz has a personal vendetta against the speaker. 

‘It could seem very personal, but it doesn’t look like he’s looking out for the country or the institution,’ McCarthy said Tuesday. 

McCarthy has said Gaetz blames him for being under investigation by the Ethics Committee. 

McCarthy could have gone to Democrats and asked them to save him in exchange for concessions on a power-sharing agreement, but McCarthy swatted away that idea. 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., urged his members to vote ‘no’ on tabling the motion to vacate and vote ‘yes’ on the motion to vacate. 

‘House Democrats will continue to put people over politics. We are ready to find bipartisan common ground. Our extreme colleagues have shown no willingness to do the same. They must find a way to end the House Republican Civil War,’ he wrote on X. 


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