Speaker Kevin McCarthy removed as leader of the chamber — a historic development that signals chaos to come on Capitol Hill.
Hard-line Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida led the charge against McCarthy a fellow conservative. Gaetz introduced a so-called motion to vacate late Monday after criticizing how McCarthy had handled spending and budget fights since Republicans retook majority control of the chamber and claiming McCarthy can’t be trusted.
McCarthy defended his record, including most recently in averting a partial federal government shutdown with Democratic support — calling himself “the adult in the room.” But that view did not persuade eight other members of the GOP who, along with the Democratic minority, voted to remove the speaker for the first time in history.
An interim speaker pro tempore was quickly named, but an internal election must be held for a permanent replacement. Until then, one half of Congress, which approves key funding legislation and other bills, has veered into uncharted territory.