Motion to vacate measure becomes a lightning rod in stormy House speaker’s race

The measure used to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., last week is now one of the main points of contention in the battle to replace him. McCarthy became the first speaker in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives to be removed from the role after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a motion to remove him last week. The 200-year-old parliamentary rule, known as a motion to vacate, triggers a chamber-wide vote on whether to oust the legislative body’s leader.  According to the terms of a deal McCarthy made in January to win the gavel, the threshold for triggering a motion to vacate was brought down to just one House member, far below the party-majority needed under Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “For me, one of the things they have to do is, they have to agree to put a change in the rules that won’t allow what happened [on Tuesday] to happen again,” Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital earlier this week when asked what he needs in order to support a new candidate for speaker. GOP LAWMAKERS DENY REVENGE PLAY AGAINST PELOSI WITH OFFICE EVICTIONS AFTER MCCARTHY OUSTER “If somebody’s not going to agree to do that, then they’re not going to have my vote.” The pragmatic Main Street Caucus also came out with a statement calling the motion to vacate a “chokehold” on Congress. “The ability for one person to vacate the Speaker of the House will keep a chokehold on this body through 2024,” the group said in a statement. “Personal politics should never again be used to trump the will of 96 percent of House conservatives. Any candidate for speaker must explain to us how what happened Tuesday never happens again.” WHO IS PATRICK MCHENRY, SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE OF HOUSE FOLLOWING MCCARTHY’S OUSTER? The topic was also a central point of conversation in Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan’s meeting with the Main Street Caucus last week, sources told Fox News Digital. Jordan, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., are currently vying to be the next House Speaker.  Fox News Digital was told that Jordan suggested he would be amenable to raising the threshold if a majority of the Republican conference was open to it.  Even national GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called for reforming the motion to vacate in a Fox News interview, stating, “We cannot have another chaotic turnover of speaker before next year’s election and think it’s not gonna impact our results.” WHAT DOES MCCARTHY’S REMOVAL MEAN FOR BIDEN INVESTIGATIONS, DAILY FUNCTIONING OF THE HOUSE? EXPERTS WEIGH IN But not everyone is on board. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, a member of the hardline-right House Freedom Caucus, defended it in a lengthy X post. “With a narrow majority, clearly enough people had grievances to continue taking down rules and party line votes in perpetuity. Had the motion to table prevailed, Congress would have had more turmoil for longer. This reveals the pragmatic reality of the MTV,” Davidson argued. “Congress ought not fear the MTV. The MTV allows the debate and resolution. ” The influential right-wing group Club For Growth also indicated it would oppose any House Speaker candidate seeking to change the rules. “Club for Growth will oppose any candidate for Speaker of the House who supports a return to Pelosi’s rules, especially her rule change against vacating the chair which stood for more than 200 years,” Club For Growth President David McIntosh wrote on X. “The House was meant to act as a democratic body, not at the whims of one person’s self-interested agenda.” House Republicans are meeting on Monday and Tuesday and then are expected to hold elections on their new candidate for speaker on Wednesday.
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