A vote to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his position passed on Tuesday by a vote of 216 to 210.
The motion to vacate was filed in the U.S. House of Representatives by fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who has been critical of McCarthy since he took the leadership role.
"He has failed to take a stand where it matters, so if he won't, I will," Gaetz said ahead of the vote. "I make no apologies for defending the right of hardworking Americans to afford a decent life for themselves and their families. We have a greater opportunity to do that under new leadership"
Gaetz's frustrations came to a head on Saturday when McCarthy passed a resolution to keep the government open with the help of Democrats.
Immediately following the vote to remove McCarthy, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina was named speaker pro tempore until the election of the new Speaker.
"I will not run for speaker again," McCarthy said in a conference after his ouster on Tuesday. "I'll have the conference pick somebody else."
"I always like to take a risk. Saturday, I took a risk for the American public," McCarthy said, referring to the bill the House passed to avert a government shutdown for the next 45 days. "Regardless what anybody says, no one knew whether that would pass. The Democrats didn't want that bill. Yes, they pulled a fire alarm. Yes, they do their conga line. Yes, they wanted to delay. But it was all for the American people."
MeCarthy's decision not to run again puts the longer-term future of the speakership in uncertain territory. There is no obvious successor for McCarthy's post.
The ouster is a historic moment for the U.S., as it’s the first time a House speaker has been removed through this procedure. In 1910, Speaker Joseph Cannon survived an attempt to oust him.
It’s unclear when a new election for a House speaker will take place. It took 15 votes for him to win the speakership earlier this year.
Democrats have essentially watched as Republicans have dealt with in-party fighting. They could have saved McCarthy by voting for him to keep his job, but Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said before the vote that his party had no obligation to bail him out.
"President Biden has demonstrated that he is always eager to work with both parties in Congress in good faith on behalf of the American people," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement for the Biden Administration on Tuesday. "Because the urgent challenges facing our nation will not wait, he hopes the House will quickly elect a Speaker. The American people deserve leadership that puts the issues affecting their lives front and center."
Click to watch McCarthy's full statement and Q&A with the media on Scripps News' YouTube page.
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