Oct 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP shuts down changes to its own rules on speaker nominee

 (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The House GOP rejected a push on Wednesday to increase the number of votes required to select a speaker nominee.

Why it matters: Proponents of the change argued it would help the conference avoid another 15 rounds of speaker votes on the House floor like in January — but other Republicans said it would create more chaos and could lead to a lengthy gridlock behind closed doors.

  • Conservative Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and moderate Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) crafted the proposal, which would have temporarily raised the threshold to 217 votes instead of a simple majority before bringing a nominee to the floor.

The intrigue: Speaker candidates House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) were at odds over whether the rule change should take place.

  • Jordan backed the amendment, as former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
  • Scalise allies pushed against it, making the case it would create more chaos.
  • Neither candidate currently has the 217 votes needed to secure the gavel on the floor, with lawmakers casting doubt on their ability to select a new speaker by the end of the week.

How it works: Under the proposed rule, if a single candidate picked up 185 votes from the 221 Republicans, they would advance to two rounds of secret ballot votes that would be called "validation" votes.

  • If a candidate didn't reach the 217 vote threshold to become nominee on the first or second secret ballot, the next two ballots would be held by a call of the roll.
  • If the candidates didn't receive 217 votes by the end of the second roll call ballot, the conference would restart the process.
  • The process would restart if the candidate picks up fewer than 185 votes after the second, third or fourth ballot.
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