Current House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has predicted the House will “probably” change the rules around the motion to vacate in the next Congress, making it harder to oust people from the speaker role.

During a press conference on March 13, preceding the GOP annual retreat at Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, Mr. Johnson said the discussion around changing the rules to vacate speakers has been ongoing, although he stressed he isn’t advocating for it personally.

“The motion to vacate is something that comes up a lot amongst members and discussion, I expect there will probably be a change to that as well,” he said.

“But just so you know, I’ve never advocated for that; I’m not one who’s making it into this issue, because I don’t think it is one for now,” he added.

Under the current rules, agreed to under former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), one representative can bring forward a motion to vote out the Speaker. During Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) days as Speaker, it would take a majority of either party to bring forward a motion and vote to vacate.

According to Mr. Johnson, discussions around the motion to vacate a House Speaker is something that a lot of members on “both sides of the aisle talk about openly,” and ultimately, most people in the House have a desire for a “normal process” on the House floor again.

“I think that there’s a desire on behalf of the vast majority of the members of the House to reestablish some of the norms with regard to rules on the floor and how legislation is handled. Many of us, you know, do long for thoughtful and deliberative conversation, even across the aisle,” Mr. Johnson said.

“So we’ll be looking at that on the House rules package in our respective caucus and conference packages as well as going to the new Congress. And that’s just something we should do in due course, be good stewards of the institution,” he added.

Mr. Johnson’s predecessor, Mr. McCarthy, was removed as House speaker after only nine months in the job by a vote by the House of Representatives on a motion to vacate the chair brought by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

The vote to vacate passed 216–210 with the support of just seven Republicans, with the remaining votes coming from Democrats. One of Mr. Gaetz’s principal complaints against the speaker was he had passed legislation with Democratic votes despite opposition from a majority of Republicans.

Mr. McCarthy also faced criticism from his party over what they saw as a cautious approach to investigating allegations involving the Biden family and alleged “secret deals” with Democrats. While Rep. McCarthy denied all these accusations, it wasn’t enough to save him from being ousted.

It was the first time in the roughly 246 year history of the U.S. Congress that a House Speaker was removed through a motion to vacate. The last time a motion was brought forward was back in 1910 but that was unsuccessful and didn’t pass.

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