Meadows has filed a non-privileged “motion to vacate the chair” in which he details a list of grievances against Speaker Boehner:
Whereas the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent;
Whereas the Speaker has, through inaction, caused the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People;
Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker; Whereas the Speaker has intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation to be taken without notice and with few Members present;
Whereas the Speaker uses the legislative calendar to create crises for the American People, in order to compel Members to vote for legislation; Whereas the Speaker does not comply with the spirit of the rules of the House of Representatives, which provide that Members shall have three days to review legislation before voting;
Whereas the Speaker continues to direct the Rules Committee to limit meaningful amendments, to limit debate on the House floor, and to subvert a straightforward legislative process;
and Whereas the House of Representatives, to function effectively in the service of all citizens of this country, requires the service of a Speaker who will endeavor to follow an orderly and inclusive process without imposing his or her will upon any Member thereof: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.
The motion has been submitted to the House Rules Committee, also known as the committee of the Speaker. Taken at face value, the tactic appears doomed to fail, but it’s in the tiny details of process that the motion could see a floor vote and be successful, whether the committee or Boehner wishes it so.
The non-privileged motion does not require the committee to vote on it and it could be tabled .. forever. But because there is no time limit, it will also allow it to simmer while the members of the House go back to their districts for a recess. Plenty of time for them to hear from constituents, count noses, formulate a plan and be ready to execute.
When the recess is over, it would only take 218 signatures on a discharge petition to force the motion to a floor vote – without a mark-up by the rules committee, without a vote from the committee and without Speaker Boehner having any say.
Meadows could also file a privileged motion which could go straight to the floor bypassing the rules committee.
Boehner’s leadership team has not commented on the motion, but a previously-scheduled press conference is still expected Wednesday afternoon.
Other House republicans were completely taken by surprise by Meadows’ motion.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., disparaged Meadows’ tactics.
“You don’t raise any money, you need a way to raise money, you do gimmicks like this,” said Nunes.
Meadows responded that “this is really more about an issue of fairness. It is not about raising money.”
Conservative FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon supported Meadows saying “It’s time to remove Boehner from the speakership before it’s too late to pass bold reforms. Under his speakership, the Republican-controlled House has allowed taxes and spending to increase, and their agenda revolves more about pleasing lobbyists than standing on principle. It’s time to end the Boehner Blunder.”
Whether or not this leads to Boehner losing his gavel remains to be seen, but … we’re going to need a lot of popcorn while it plays out.