The procedural gambit has virtually no chance of success, but it could force vulnerable Democrats to align with the speaker ahead of the election.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are quietly working to convince GOP leadership to sign off on a long-shot bid to oust Nancy Pelosi from the speakership, according to multiple sources, which would represent a major affront to the California Democrat if they follow through with the plan.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the only GOP member who can offer a “motion to vacate the chair” and force a floor vote on whether Pelosi can retain the speaker’s gavel, according to House rules implemented at the start of this Congress. McCarthy apparently has not yet decided whether he will support the insurgent effort. But McCarthy did agree to hold a GOP conference meeting next Tuesday to discuss the idea, according to Republican sources — a sign that he is at least giving serious consideration to deploying the procedural weapon. McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment.
Democrats, though, are already privately warning that they could retaliate against McCarthy, potentially with a censure motion, formal reprimand, or even an ethics complaint. Doing so would set off a partisan food fight among House leaders even as the country suffers through the worst health and economic problems in a century.
And Republicans would need to get a majority of the House to win on any motion to replace Pelosi. Republicans hold only 198 seats, versus 232 for Democrats, making it far easier for Democrats to hit McCarthy than the other way around.
McCarthy huddled Wednesday with Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and other members of the conservative group, who argue that Pelosi should be removed from her post for leading the effort to impeach President Donald Trump, not allowing more floor votes on amendments and calling Republicans who support Trump “domestic enemies,” among other things.
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Submitted 11 days ago