- Anthony Churcher and Sam Cabral
- BBC News, Washington
For the first time in American political history, the Speaker of the House of Representatives was replaced by one of the two members of Congress.
By a narrow majority of 216 to 210, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Kevin McCarthy, the Republican majority leader in the lower house of Congress.
Some Republicans voted for McCarthy to leave office, led by the hard wing, who resent him for allegedly making deals with Democrats over funding for government agencies.
As of now, it is unclear who will succeed McCarthy as speaker of the lower house of Congress.
Matt Gates, a Florida Republican and former aide to President Donald Trump, on Monday initiated a rarely used procedure known as a “vacation motion” to oust McCarthy as House speaker.
He accused McCarthy of making a secret deal with the White House to continue funding Ukraine amid negotiations to avoid a partial government shutdown over the weekend.
McCarthy denied this.
During a private meeting with Republicans on Tuesday night after being ousted from the presidency, McCarthy told colleagues he had no plans to run for the same post again.
He later accused his political opponent, Gejc, of seeking attention.
“You know this matter is personal and has nothing to do with the budget,” he told a press conference.
Gates and other members of the Republican hardline steadfastly refused to vote for him.
In the end, 210 Republicans supported McCarthy, but eight voted against him, joining all Democrats in that house of Congress.
One of the votes against McCarthy came from moderate Republican Nancy Mays, which came as a surprise.
The congresswoman from South Carolina said she wants to see someone “who tells the truth to the American people, who is honest with Congress, who is bipartisan” in the presidency.
Ahead of the confidence vote in McCarthy, Democrats made it clear they had no intention of supporting him.
“Let them be pushed into the piggery of their incompetence,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington.
The Lower House, which Republicans control by a narrow 221-212 majority, was quiet as the outcome of the vote was awaited.
“The office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared vacant,” said Arkansas Republican Steve Womack, announcing McCarthy’s impeachment.
A sigh was heard in the hall.
Earlier, former US President Donald Trump took to social media to declare that the party should fight “against far-left Democrats” and not within itself.
North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry, who supported McCarthy, is now acting chairman.
He announced a week off from work.
It is unclear whether McHenry will have full power or will only be able to deal with administrative matters and oversee new elections for McCarthy’s successor.
Although a vote is scheduled for October 11, it has not been determined how long a person can serve as interim president.
Steve Scalise and Tom Emmer, both Republicans from Louisiana and Minnesota, have been mentioned as possible candidates to replace McCarthy, though neither has expressed interest in the position.
White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said in a statement that President Joseph Biden is confident a new president will be elected soon, adding that “the challenges facing the nation cannot wait.”
The previous two Republican leaders, Paul Ryan and John Boehner, left Congress after clashing with more conservative colleagues.
A motion of no-confidence against the leaders was called twice before it was passed in 2015 and 2010, but it failed.
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