House Republican moves to make it harder to oust Speaker

October 31, 2023

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) on Monday introduced a resolution to increase the number of Representatives needed to bring a motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair from the current one.

Reducing the number of lawmakers who can call for a motion to vacate—essentially a vote of no confidence against the Speaker—down to a single Representative was a concession Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made with hardline conservatives to secure the Speaker’s gavel back in January. Before then, a motion to vacate required a majority vote from members of the Speaker’s party.

McCarthy’s concession backfired on him when hard-right Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called for the motion on October 2, hours after he had accused McCarthy of having struck a “secret side deal” with President Biden and House Democrats to continue to fund Ukraine in its war against Russia.

The next day, the House ousted McCarthy by a vote of 216-210. It took another three more weeks before Republicans finally elected a new Speaker—Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the Republicans’ fourth nominee—while a government shutdown deadline to pass a federal budget in mid-November has been looming.

The resolution  that Rep. Miller introduced on Monday seeks to avoid a repeat of the past month by raising the threshold of lawmakers needed to force a no-confidence vote to at least 112 members from either the majority or the minority party.

“After being paralyzed for three weeks, one thing is crystal clear: We cannot be beholden to the whims and personal grudges of a handful of people. Americans want us to work hard to advance commonsense, conservative policies, not play petty politics,” Miller said in a statement. “Changing this rule is a simple step toward accomplishing that goal and keeping the House on track.”

Speaker Johnson and at least a few other House Republicans have so far expressed support for raising the threshold, though no formal vote has been scheduled yet.

PHOTO: Rep. Max Miller amid scramble to elect new Speaker, Oct 12

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