Democrats evicted from hideaway offices after Kevin McCarthy’s ouster

Two longtime Democratic leaders, Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, have been evicted from their hideaway offices in the Capitol in the aftermath of Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as House Speaker.

Pelosi, who stepped down as Democratic leader last year after being in leadership since 2003, confirmed on Tuesday night that Rep. Patrick McHenry, the new speaker pro tempore, had ordered she “immediately vacate my office in the Capitol.”

“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition,” Pelosi said. “As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished. Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems to be important to them. Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important for the American people.”

The secret hideaway offices are unofficial, unlisted offices throughout the Capitol building, identified only by a room number. They’re generally given to senators, but a few higher-ranking House members have them, too. They vary in size, with the grandest hideaways going to the most senior lawmakers.

Pelosi is currently in San Francisco for the funeral of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died Sunday at the age of 90. As a result, Pelosi said, “I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”

House Democrats Hold A News Conference On The Freedom To Vote Act WRep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a press conference on the reintroduction of the Freedom to Vote Act, outside the U.S. Capitol Building on July 20, 2023 in Washington, DC. 

Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Hoyer, who served as House majority leader and is one of the most senior members of Congress, was also evicted from his hideaway office, a senior staffer confirmed to CBS News.

The hideaway offices vary in size and location — some are windowless rooms on the basement level with not much room for more than a small couch and desk, while others have high ceilings, chandeliers and big windows. Here’s a photo of the hideaway office of the late Sen. Robert Byrd:

Byrd Hideaway File: The Capitol office, or hideaway, of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010.

Alex Brandon / AP

It’s not clear why the two Democrats were tossed out of their hideaway offices Tuesday night, but the evictions came just hours after the historic vote that removed McCarthy as speaker, the first time in history a speaker has been removed by a vote. Eight Republicans voted against McCarthy, joining all of the Democrats, whom McCarthy blamed Tuesday night for not giving him support. 

“I think today was a political decision by the Democrats,” McCarthy said. “And I think the things they have done in the past hurt the institution.”

In an appearance on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, McCarthy said Rep. Matt Gaetz — who led the rebellion against him — had reached out to Democrats to oust him. 

But McCarthy had relied on Democrats’ support just a few days earlier when he put forward a continuing resolution to fund the government until Nov. 17, averting a government shutdown at the last minute. Despite getting support from every Democrat in the House on that continuing resolution, McCarthy said on “Face the Nation” that “Democrats tried to do everything they can, not to let it pass.” 

That appearance on “Face the Nation” may have played a role in his downfall. Ahead of the vote to oust him, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said that a clip of his interview on “Face the Nation” was played at the Democratic caucus meeting. 

“It is that continuation of being a fraud being somebody who lies; somebody who clearly does not have a hold on reality,” Omar said Tuesday. “We know that we offered more of the votes as Democrats to pass the CR than his own conference. He couldn’t deliver votes for his own CR. Democrats saved the day. And he goes on TV hours later and says Republicans did it, Republicans were leading, which is insane.” 

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up