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McCarthy ousted as House speaker in historic vote; Democrats join with GOP critics to topple him

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted out of the job Tuesday in an extraordinary showdown, a first in U.S. history. The 216-210 vote, forced by a contingent of hard-right conservatives, throws the House and its Republican leadership into chaos.

McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, brought forward the “motion to vacate” drawing together more than a handful of conservative Republican critics of the speaker and many Democrats who say he is unworthy of leadership.

Next steps are uncertain, but there is no obvious successor to lead the House Republican majority.

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THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s grip on the gavel was at serious risk Tuesday after the House voted to move ahead with a historic effort by hard-right critics to oust the embattled Republican leader from the job.

The dramatic showdown forced by McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, brought together more than a handful of conservative Republican critics of the speaker and many Democrats who say he is unworthy of leadership.

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Voting was underway in a dramatic roll call. It will take just a simple majority to remove McCarthy from the speaker’s office. While he has support from most Republicans, a handful of conservatives can overpower McCarthy’s slim majority if Democrats don’t step in to help.

It’s a stunning moment for the battle-tested McCarthy and serves as his most severe challenge yet, a potential punishment fueled by growing grievances but sparked by his weekend decision to work with Democrats to keep the federal government open rather than risk a shutdown.

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