Kevin McCarthy | Credit: USDA photo by Tayna E. Flores

Representative Kevin McCarthy was ousted as U.S. House Speaker this Tuesday, a first in U.S. history. 

The House speakership is a position McCarthy achieved after 15 separate votes in January. Each time, he conceded more to the conservatives in his party, among the concessions that a motion to remove him could be brought by one member of the House. After McCarthy engaged with Democrats to pass a temporary funding bill to avoid a government shutdown this past Saturday, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida made good on his promise to get rid of McCarthy. The vote passed with 216 in favor — including 208 Democrats and eight Republicans — and 210 opposed.

Among those voting to oust McCarthy was Santa Barbara Congressmember Salud Carbajal, long a McCarthy critic. In a statement released today after the vote, Carbajal said, “There are real challenges facing our nation, our state, and the Central Coast families that I represent. But since the beginning of this Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives under the leadership of Kevin McCarthy has moved farther and farther away from governing, and farther from the common ground needed to solve these pressing problems.”

Carbajal protested that the critical work of the House had been “corrupted” by far-right members of Congress, including budget and debt-limit talks. Extremist attacks were added to unrelated bills, Carbajal contended, leading to a focus on partisan ideology and a “baseless impeachment.”

“While the American people need us to be fighting for them, House Republicans are now just fighting each other,” Carbajal said. “The U.S. House of Representatives needs a new direction, one that returns our focus to govern, putting people over politics, and continuing to make progress on making life easier and more affordable for everyday Americans. For that reason, I voted yes today to vacate the Chair.” 

Leaders in the House, which is majority Republican, are now regrouping to determine how to elect the next Speaker as Congress has just more than 40 days to avoid another potential government shutdown.


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