House GOP Set To Change “Vacate Chair” Rule

( – Republicans want to ensure that Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) move to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the House speakership doesn’t happen again so easily. They’re working to change the rule so hard-liners can’t hold it over the next speaker’s head. They’re determined to increase the percentage of votes necessary for the motion to move to the full floor.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) led a proposal that would require a nominee to have 217 of the conference’s support before lawmakers took their decision to a formal vote, noting that the change would ensure the incoming speaker had the majority of the House’s support.

Both men currently seeking the speakership role, Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (OH) and Steve Scalise (LA), who is the current House Majority Leader, support the idea. Others, like Carlos Gimenez (FL), feel the threshold should increase to 50%. He wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that a speaker can’t do his job if “fringe hostage takers” threaten the person’s position over their every move.

Not all Republicans agree with the current draft of the proposal. Rep. Andy Barr (KY) noted that the lawmakers are calling for only temporary alterations to the rule. He feels that any change important enough to make “should be permanent.” House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) voiced concerns that allowing so much of their work to occur behind closed doors might allow proceedings to drag out longer than necessary. He explained that the public nature of their job can add pressure to address issues in a timely manner because constituents are watching over them at every step.

The entire House must vote unanimously on any motions to change its chair vacating rule, so Roy’s proposal still has a long way to go before any moves are made in that respect.

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