Amidst the ongoing debate within the Republican Party about who should lead the House, a pair of conflicting amendments to House GOP rules highlights the divisions within the party.
As House Republicans gathered for their candidate forum, an anticipated amendment by Rep. Chip Roy surfaced, seeking to increase the threshold for nominating a speaker candidate to 217 votes, a House majority. This proposed change aimed to avoid a prolonged battle similar to the one experienced by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who endured 15 rounds of voting before clinching the gavel in January.
Supporters of this rule change argued that it would prevent public infighting, thereby fostering unity within the House GOP. However, not everyone in the caucus agreed. Rep. Tom McClintock criticized this proposal as “an absurdity on its face.” He emphasized that the existing rules for removing a speaker allow the choice to be overruled by any five members with grievances, which he regarded as “childish despotism and utter nonsense.”
In response, McClintock proposed an alternative amendment to House GOP rules, suggesting that a member should be expelled from the conference if they cast a House floor vote against the conference’s position on procedural issues like the speaker vote and rules changes. The expelled member could potentially be reinstated if two-thirds of the conference voted in favor of it.
Additionally, McClintock called for a vote to reinstate McCarthy as speaker, although McCarthy himself has expressed his reluctance to return to the role.
The House Republicans are set to hear from the two formally declared speaker candidates, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, during closed-door meetings. They will gather again on Wednesday morning to select their candidate for speaker.
The GOP’s internal deliberations on these amendments reflect the party’s efforts to resolve its differences and chart a unified path forward.