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Mike Johnson says he’s ‘not afraid’ to change House speaker removal rule | Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

The president can currently be ejected by any Democrat or Republican who makes a “motion to overturn” followed by a majority vote.

Sun October 29, 2023 2:37 p.m. EDT

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he is “not afraid” to change the rules governing how the president can be removed from office by any member, Democrat or Republican, who presents a “motion to cancel” followed by a majority. wins the floor vote.

The rule was adopted earlier this year among a number of concessions made to the Republican far right by Kevin McCarthy to win the job. He was later unseated by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, who used that rule to force a vote against him after McCarthy struck a budget deal with Democrats.

McCarthy was expelled on October 3, the first speaker to be expelled, leading lawmakers to a protracted effort to select a speaker before arriving at Johnson of Louisiana, a relative neophyte in the Republican party war. He was elected Wednesday as the 56th Speaker of the House.

“Everyone is here in good faith … and everyone has told me that this rule needs to change,” Johnson said Sunday on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

But he added: “I’m not afraid of it because I’m going to work openly and transparently and work with every member and everyone will fully understand what we’re doing and why. »

He acknowledged that the motion nullification rule that led to the Gaetz-led mutiny “makes it difficult for any speaker to do their job.”

Johnson said his desire was to decentralize political power from the president to committees in the legislature and to run the body more transparently.

On Sunday, he said his “highest priority is to do this work and to do it in an open and transparent way, as I said in my speech the night I was sworn in, to decentralize the power of the Office of the President.

“I really want to empower our speaker, the relevant committees and all the talented people in the House and have them more involved in the big decisions and situations and processes here and ensure regular order,” Johnson said. “If we do this, we don’t have to worry about a motion to rescind and I do, I work on it every day.”

McCarthy had agreed to the rule change reducing the number of members required to call a confidence vote from five to one as part of a deal with Republican hardliners who had forced him to endure 14 rounds of voting before to win the position on the 15th.

Previously, under Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the speaker could only be threatened when a majority of one party supported the resignation motion. Until McCarthy’s ouster, this system had only been used once before, in 1910, when it failed.

Others had tried in vain to use it, notably against Newt Gingrich in 1997 and in 2015, when Republican Mark Meadows filed a motion against Speaker John Boehner, but it did not result in a vote and Boehner resigned months later.

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