If Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has his way, John Boehner, R-Ohio, will no longer be the Speaker of the House. On Tuesday, Meadows introduced a “motion to vacate the chair,” which would force the election of a new House Speaker, the Washington Post reported.
It’s been 105 years since this was last attempted, the Post said. That was the first time it was tried, Mike DeBonis said, and it was unsuccessful. The motion was filed in response to punitive actions taken against conservatives by the Ohio Republican.
“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation on making this place work, where everybody’s voice matters, where there’s not a punitive culture,” Meadows said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some discussion about that in the days and weeks to come.”
Meadows was stripped of an Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee chairmanship after bucking leadership in a procedural vote on trade legislation. The post was ultimately restored after an uproar from fellow conservatives, DeBonis said, but added that “bad blood has lingered.”
The resolution accuses Boehner of attempting to “consolidate power and centralize decision-making,” causing the GOP-led House to “atrophy.” Meadows also accused Boehner of using his office “to punish members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the speaker.”
According to the resolution, Boehner “has intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation to be taken without notice and with few Members present.” Moreover, the document says Boehner “uses the legislative calendar to create crises for the American People, in order to compel Members to vote for legislation,” and “does not comply with the spirit” of House rules giving members three days to review legislation.
The resolution further says that Boehner “continues to direct the Rules Committee to limit meaningful amendments, to limit debate on the House floor, and to subvert a straightforward legislative process.” It also says that in order to remain effective, the House “requires the service of a Speaker who will endeavor to follow an orderly and inclusive process without imposing his or her will upon any Member thereof.”
DeBonis said Meadows filed the motion as a resolution, meaning that it will be sent to committee rather than straight to the floor of the House. Meadows said he simply wants to see members of the House treated fairly.
“What I’m hopeful for is this provides perhaps the impetus to have a discussion, a family discussion, where we can start talking about how we can make sure that every voice, every vote matters, and really about representing the American people,” he said. “Ultimately what I want to is to make sure everyone is treated fairly.”
But, USA Today said, it’s unlikely the resolution will advance in the House, controlled by what many grassroots conservatives see as “RINOs,” or “Republicans in name only.” The resolution has no co-sponsors and Boehner’s office did not comment on it. Boehner allies, however, dismissed the resolution as a “gimmick” from the “fringe” of the Republican caucus.
“My guess is, he’s probably in trouble in his district so he needs a way to raise money,” said California Republican Devin Nunes. “We were focused on the Iran issue,” added another Boehner ally, who, DeBonis added, spoke on the condition of anonymity. “This takes the eye off the ball.”
The conservative group FreedomWorks praised Meadows for his “courage and willingness to risk everything from committee placements to fundraising in order to do what’s right.” FreedomWorks chief executive Adam Brandon said it’s time to remove Boehner from the post, saying the Speaker has been a failure. “It’s time to remove Boehner from the speakership before it’s too late to pass bold reforms,” he added.