After months of division within the Republican caucus, House members from Kansas and Missouri voted on party lines Tuesday on whether to keep Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, in his role as speaker of the House. He lost the vote 216-210.
Republicans from Kansas and Missouri voted to keep McCarthy, while the Democrats voted with eight hard-line conservatives to oust him from the role. Rep. Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat, missed the vote.
The Republican majority will now have to either figure out a deal in order to give the role back to McCarthy – reminiscent of the 15 votes it took him to win the speakership in January – or they will have to choose a new speaker.
In explaining her vote to oust McCarthy, Rep. Sharice Davids, a Kansas Democrat, criticized the vote as Republican infighting that distracted from a long-term spending bill.
“We just came to the brink of a government shutdown, but instead of working toward a long-term solution to keep our government open or working to lower costs for families, the House majority is now engaged in needless partisan infighting,” Davids said. “Kansans need Congress to stop the political games and get back to working for the families we represent.”
The vote comes after McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government open until mid-November, which alienated some hard-line conservatives who were pushing for a government shutdown in order to secure cuts to government spending.
One of those hard-line conservatives, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, filed a motion on Monday, forcing members to vote on whether or not to oust McCarthy.
Democrats decided as a caucus to vote against McCarthy instead of helping him hold on to his speakership, though House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, said he would be open to a deal with McCarthy.
“It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War,” Jeffries said. “Given their unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism in an authentic and comprehensive manner, House Democratic leadership will vote (to remove McCarthy).”
President Joe Biden is still pushing for a spending package that would allow more military aid to Ukraine, which was a sticking point in the spending disagreements that almost led to a government shutdown. At the White House, press secretary Karine Jean Pierre refused to wade into whether Democrats should keep backing McCarthy.
But she said the tenuous situation in the House, where a minority of Republicans are able to derail the chamber, is not beneficial to the American people.
“It’s chaotic, there is chaos there,” Jean Pierre said. “A small minority of their caucus is indeed causing chaos.”
Here’s how the House members from Kansas and Missouri voted:
A yes vote means the member was in favor of removing McCarthy as House Speaker
Rep. Sharice Davids (D) — Yes
Rep. Ron Estes (R) — No
Rep. Jake LaTurner (R) — No
Rep. Tracey Mann (R) — No
Rep. Mark Alford (R) — No
Rep. Cori Bush (D) — Not voting
Rep. Eric Burlison (R) — No
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D) — Yes
Rep. Sam Graves (R) — No
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) — No
Rep. Jason Smith (R) — No
Rep. Ann Wagner (R) — No