The House Freedom Caucus, a group of GOP Congresspersons have attempted to push Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to make a procedural move to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker before the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election.
The Freedom Caucus, which has played an integral role in the past in the fights for the Speakership, is attempting to tie moderate democrats in swing districts to the controversial Speaker, who has drawn quite a bit of criticism of late for her “rules for thee, but not for me” attitude when it comes to her style of leadership.
“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the only GOP member who can offer a “motion to vacate the chair” and force a floor vote on whether Pelosi can retain the speaker’s gavel, according to House rules implemented at the start of this Congress. McCarthy apparently has not yet decided whether he will support the insurgent effort. But McCarthy did agree to hold a GOP conference meeting next Tuesday to discuss the idea, according to Republican sources — a sign that he is at least giving serious consideration to deploying the procedural weapon.”
Should Republicans be able to make such a move, it would require that all members vote in support or opposition of the current Speaker. Unfortunately, though Progressive members of the House have motioned opposition to Pelosi in the past, it is unlikely that they will divorce themselves from the Speaker during the election season. Such a split could cause significant waves in the unity the Democrats have coalesced for November.
Forcing moderate democrats in swing districts to supporting Pelosi could make for an advantage for their Republican challengers in those districts. According to RCP and the RCP Average, Pelosi only has a 37.6% approval rating, below that of President Donald Trump. Pelosi remains more popular amongst voters than either Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Should moderate Dems have to take a position of support for the Speaker and commit to a vote, challengers could immediately use that vote as a point for media and mail hits on the incumbents.
While this is a long-shot bid, should McCarthy agree to the vote, it should make for some interesting fireworks in the House for a few days.