Lawmakers on both sides of the House are weighing their options after eight Republicans and 208 Democrats passed a motion, brought by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his position as House speaker on Tuesday.
The decision to remove Mr. McCarthy from the speakership came less than a year in. Mr. McCarthy only gained the speakership after the House held 15 votes in January, with enough Republican holdouts eventually agreeing to support his speakership bid.
Mr. McCarthy offered several concessions to shore up support for the speakership, including lowering the threshold for members of his party to trigger a motion to vacate him from the position. Now, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is among the Republicans calling to once again raise the threshold to vacate the next House speaker.
“We’re going to have to talk as a conference about the rules,” Ms. Greene told NTD on Thursday. “Motion to vacate is a tool to hold a speaker accountable. But we don’t want to continue going forward in a situation where they can just—anyone can motion to vacate at any time for any reason.”
Ms. Greene had supported Mr. McCarthy’s speakership but has also worked closely with Mr. Gaetz on several issues in the past. Both Ms. Greene and Mr. Gaetz had expressed discontent with how the House Republican majority has handled budget negotiations in recent weeks. Mr. Gaetz cited concerns about Mr. McCarthy’s leadership in those budget negotiations when he launched his effort to remove the House speaker this week.
Prior to the vote to vacate Mr. McCarthy from the speakership, Ms. Greene had referred to Mr. Gaetz as “my friend” and reiterated her concerns about the budget process, but urged her fellow Republicans to avoid what she called a “family feud” over the speakership.
Greene ‘Solidly Supporting’ Trump for Speaker
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have already launched bids to replace Mr. McCarthy.
Mr. Gaetz has indicated he could support speakership bids by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Budget Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).
While many House Republicans may be looking within Congress for their next speaker, others may entertain a speakership bid by someone outside of the legislature. Some Republicans have even floated the idea of naming former president and 2024 Republican frontrunner Donald Trump to the speakership role.
Ms. Greene is one such Republican who has said she’s “solidly supporting” President Trump over the two Republicans who have announced speakership bids thus far.
“He’s got a four-year track record. As president, his policies are the exact policies that make America great again, and this is what everyone wants back,” said Ms. Greene, who has already endorsed Trump’s 2024 presidential run.
President Trump briefly addressed the speakership talk on Wednesday outside a New York courtroom where he and his legal team have been defending against a civil lawsuit over allegations the Trump Organization inflated the value of its various real estate properties. President Trump didn’t give a direct “yes” or “no” answer when asked if he would consider serving as the next House speaker. President Trump said he’d do what he could to help Republicans but indicated he’s primarily focused on his current presidential campaign.
“We’re leading by like 50 points,” President Trump said of the Republican primary. “My focus is totally on that. If I can help them during the process I would do it. But we have some great people in the Republican Party that will do a great job as speaker.
Ms. Greene insisted the former president remains receptive to the idea of the speakership.
“I’ve talked with him about it. I will nominate him. I’m supporting him to everyone I talk to, and I think he’s definitely open to it,” she said.
Other Issues to Consider
One issue that could divide Republicans during the speakership contest is support for Ukraine. Mr. Jordan has indicated he would not set additional rounds of Ukraine aid as a top priority going forward.
“The most pressing issue on Americans’ minds is not Ukraine,” Mr. Jordan told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “It is the border situation and it is crime on the streets.”
Mr. Jordan, Mr. Gaetz, and Ms. Greene were among the 117 House Republicans who voted last week in opposition to a $300 million Ukraine aid package. Mr. Scalise and Mr. McCarthy were among the 101 House Republicans who joined 210 House Democrats to pass the Ukraine spending. While there may be enough bipartisan support to pass new Ukraine-related spending, the sharp division within the House’s majority party could strain Republicans as they seek a new speaker.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) suggested the next House speaker could look for issues that go beyond typical party politics, such as reforming Congress itself.
“We need to ban members from trading stock. We need to ban members from becoming lobbyists. And I was encouraged that Representative Gaetz agrees with that. And these are the reforms that should be part of the conversation, whoever the new speaker is,” Mr. Khanna told NTD.
Last Congress, Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Khanna both cosponsored legislation to ban congressional stock trading, known as the “TRUST in Congress Act.” Mr. Gaetz joined a bipartisan letter calling on then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-House Minority Leader McCarthy to allow a vote on such legislation.
From NTD News