Oct 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Johnson "not afraid" of vacating rule that drove McCarthy out as speaker

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who recently secured the gavel, is not hurrying to reverse the one rule that leaves him vulnerable to being ousted.

Why it matters: The one-member threshold rule to introduce a motion to vacate prompted the historic removal of his predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), earlier this month.

What he's saying: "Everyone's here in good faith ... and everyone has told me that that rule has to change," Johnson said Sunday on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures."

  • "Look, I'm not afraid of it because I'm going to openly work transparently and with every member and everyone will ... fully understand what we're doing and why, and I think that's a big part of it," Johnson said.
  • Johnson said "the rule makes it difficult for any speaker to do their job" and noted there will be discussions on doing away with it, though he said it is not his "highest priority."

Instead, the Louisiana Republican's primary concern is to "get this work done and to do it in an open and transparent way."

  • Johnson said that if he focuses on empowering the chairman, committees of jurisdiction and "all the talented people in the House" to make them all a bigger part of the decision making and "ensure regular order" then "we don't have to worry about a motion to vacate."

Catch up quick: Johnson inherited the motion to vacate rule that left McCarthy in a precarious spot when the California Republican began his speakership.

  • Part of McCarthy's agreement to secure the gavel meant that only one person had to call for a motion to vacate, which ultimately enabled Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to introduce the measure.
  • Gaetz's motion to vacate prompted a historic vote that drove McCarthy out as Speaker of the House, and opened up the race for a new leader.

Fast forward through GOP infighting, chaos and failed speaker bids, Johnson was elected on Oct. 25.

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