As House Republicans search for a replacement for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker, there is a growing debate within the party about the rules surrounding the motion to vacate. Some GOP lawmakers are now considering raising the threshold required to make a motion to vacate, which could potentially prevent a repeat of McCarthy’s removal from the position.
During McCarthy’s bid for speaker in January, he made several concessions to gain support from his fellow lawmakers, one of which was a rule change allowing a single member to raise a motion to vacate, leading to a vote on the measure.
However, some of McCarthy’s allies and top Republicans are now advocating for the repeal of this rule, arguing that it hinders effective governance. They argue that a dysfunctional structure cannot accommodate a new speaker and would be unfair to impose on another individual in the position. Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA) emphasizes that according to conference rules, a motion to vacate should only be brought forward with the support of the conference.
As the search for a new speaker continues, some members suggest that this rule could be up for negotiation. It may become a prominent issue in the platforms of candidates seeking the position. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) predicts that it will be discussed and potentially reconsidered.
On the other hand, not all Republicans are in favor of changing the rules. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) feels that the rules currently in place hold them accountable and ensure an open process, fiscal discipline, and enforcement of budget rules. He believes that it is important to stay true to the promises made to constituents. The Main Street Caucus, comprised of pragmatic Republicans, also supports amending the rules to avoid the “chokehold” on the speakership.
Candidates for speaker, such as House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), will need to address this issue as they vie for the position.
The debate surrounding the motion to vacate rule raises questions about the future of the Republican Party’s leadership and how it plans to navigate its internal dynamics. It remains to be seen whether a change to the rule will be implemented or if the current rules will hold. One thing is clear though – this decision holds significant implications for the direction of the party.