WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives voted 216-210 to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Eight Republicans joined all Democrats.
If all Democrats voted against him, only five Republican defections would be needed to oust McCarthy as speaker.
It’s a historic moment. The request for repeal has only been made once – more than a century ago – and failed.
This is a developing story. Please come back for more updates.
Republican hardliner Matt Gaetz is leading the charge against McCarthy. He introduced the resignation request late Monday night after criticizing how McCarthy has handled spending and budget issues since Republicans regained majority control of the chamber.
The motion to file Gaetz’s own eviction petition – which would have effectively killed his request before it was voted on – failed 208-218.
Eleven Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against it, setting up a decisive vote on the motion to withdraw.
The fact that the motion has not been filed suggests that McCarthy’s tenure as speaker is in serious jeopardy, as he would need the support of the chamber’s majority to retain his role.
A vote on the resignation request is expected shortly. After the vote, McCarthy slumped in his second-row chair.
“I will raise the resignation motion in the first series today and go through it,” McCarthy told reporters after meeting behind closed doors with the Republican conference.
“If I counted the number of times someone tried to knock me out, I would be gone by now,” McCarthy added.
During a caucus meeting that lasted more than two hours, Democrats were urged to vote not to support Speaker McCarthy as he fights for his job, sources tell ABC News.
Gaetz, a Republican hardliner, has criticized how McCarthy has handled spending and budget disputes, particularly the short-term funding deal reached over the weekend to avert a government shutdown.
McCarthy, who received a standing ovation during the GOP convention, defended working with Democrats to maintain government funding, sources said.
McCarthy also told members he was disappointed he had no other choice and insisted they could continue working to bring forward individual spending bills to keep the government funded beyond November 17.
“At the end of the day, if you throw out a speaker who has spent 99% of his conference responsible for keeping the government open and paying the troops, I think we’re in a really bad situation when it comes to how “We will run Congress.” McCarthy told reporters.
At least five Republicans have signaled that they want McCarthy out, and if they voted against him, McCarthy would require Democratic intervention to save him. McCarthy said Tuesday he doesn’t expect Democrats to support him.
“If five Republicans vote for the Democrats, I’m out,” McCarthy said.
ABC News senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott told McCarthy, “That looks likely.”
“Probably,” he replied.
Sources told ABC News that McCarthy called House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Monday night as he fights to stay in charge.
During a more than two-hour caucus meeting Tuesday morning, Democrats were strongly encouraged to vote not to support Speaker McCarthy as he fights for his job, sources told ABC News.
Jeffries told reporters as he left the session: “House Democrats will continue to put people over politics and fight to improve the lives of everyday Americans… We encourage our Republican colleagues who claim to be more traditional.” “To break away from the extremists.” “End the chaos, end the dysfunction, end the extremism.”
“We are ready, willing and able to work with our Republican colleagues, but it is up to them to join us to move Congress and the country forward,” he added.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California said he believes “Kevin McCarthy is not trustworthy.”
“We don’t trust him. Your own conference doesn’t trust him. We’ve just stumbled from crisis to crisis with him as speaker and they need to pick someone who has the ability to govern because he isn’t,” Schiff said.
Several House Democrats told ABC News they had no plans to save McCarthy.
“We are not voting in any way that would help save Speaker McCarthy,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
The Republicans who say they want to unseat McCarthy are Gaetz, Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona and Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee.
Others have suggested they are unsure, including South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace.
“I understand the frustration,” Mace said. “I’m just as frustrated about it. Kevin has my number and I hope he calls before the vote.”
Still, a majority of conference attendees support McCarthy.
Sources tell ABC News that there was a tense moment during the GOP meeting when Florida Rep. Carlos Gimenez asked for a show of hands about who would support McCarthy. Most people in the room raised their hands.
Gimenez responded: “That’s your answer, Matt,” sources said.
ABC News previously pressed Gaetz on why he was moving forward when he didn’t have the support of most of the conference.
“Well, he no longer has my support and he doesn’t have the support of a sufficient number of Republicans to continue to be the Republican speaker,” Gaetz responded. “Now he may continue to be speaker of the House, and he may continue to be speaker of the Democrats and some kind of one-party coalition, but he will not be speaker in power because of the Republican votes.”
ABC’s Lauren Peller, Lalee Ibssa and Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.