Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has called on his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives to abolish the rule that allows a single member to file a “motion to vacate the chair,” claiming that it makes the Speaker’s job “near impossible.”
This request follows the ousting of Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a member of the Republican establishment, from his position as House Speaker after a motion to vacate the chair was filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
In a press conference Wednesday, McConnell began by expressing gratitude towards former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for his service.
“I’d like to start by thanking Speaker McCarthy for his service. We had a great personal relationship trying to lead two very different parts of the American government. I think he has much to be proud of. We avoided a government shutdown. We did the inevitable with regard to the debt ceiling,” said McConnell.
McConnell was explicit in his advice to House Republicans: “And one person is extremely grateful for his service. I have no advice to give to House Republicans, except one. I hope whoever the next speaker is gets rid of the motion to vacate. I think it makes the Speaker’s job impossible. And the American people expect us to have a functioning government on the Senate side.”
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calls for the House to get rid of the motion-to-vacate rule for the position of House speaker, saying it makes governing “impossible.” pic.twitter.com/xpZbzz4yv7
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 4, 2023
McConnell argues that the rule makes the Speaker’s job “impossible,” but this claim is a gross exaggeration.
McConnell’s call to eliminate this rule is an attempt to make the Speaker’s position more secure at the expense of individual members’ ability to hold them accountable. Eliminating this rule would centralize power in the hands of the Speaker, making it more difficult for individual members to voice their concerns and hold the Speaker accountable.
The ‘Motion to Vacate’ rule is a vital part of the checks and balances that are foundational to our republic. It is a tool that ensures accountability and keeps the Speaker in check, reminding them that they serve at the pleasure of the House members and the American people. It is a reminder that the Speaker is not above the law and that they can be removed from office if they abuse their power or lose the confidence of the House.