Longshot Bid for Boehner’s Ouster Filed by Fellow Republican

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A U.S. House Republican filed a procedural move Tuesday that could set off a longshot maneuver to topple Speaker John Boehner from his post -- if a committee controlled by the speaker allows it to advance.

North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows’s procedural move to declare Boehner’s office vacant, while almost certain to fail, again demonstrates the frustration with Boehner among conservative Republicans. They have made previous challenges to his leadership.

The measure filed by Meadows would need the Rules Committee’s approval to move forward, said a House leadership aide who sought anonymity to discuss the matter. The aide said Meadows could have used a different procedure to try to force an immediate vote.

Meadows was briefly removed from a subcommittee chairmanship in June for siding against House Republican leaders on a procedural trade vote.

Boehner of Ohio told reporters at the time that he supported the committee chairman’s decision, saying, “when it comes to procedural votes in the House, the majority has to stick together.”

Meadows said in an interview Tuesday that elected representatives should be able to vote their conscience “without the fear of retribution.”

‘Consolidate Power’

His resolution said Boehner had sought “to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 members of Congress” and had “caused the power of Congress to atrophy.”

Meadows said he’s not asking for co-sponsors and hadn’t spoken directly with Boehner before filing the bid to oust him.

Boehner’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, said he had just learned about the measure and didn’t have an immediate answer on whether his committee would consider advancing it.

“I’m not going to have an answer for you right away,” said Sessions.

House rules say that “a speaker may be removed at the will of the House and a speaker pro tempore appointed.”

A majority of U.S. House members present and voting would be required to oust the speaker. Also, a series of procedural steps are required before that vote could be taken, and those would require help from House Democrats to pass. Republicans control the House 246-188.

‘Main Topic’

Representative Richard Hudson, a North Carolina Republican who said he opposes the move, suggested that Meadows “wants to set up an August where this is the main topic” during lawmakers’ summer break in their home districts.

Hudson said Meadows’s effort threatens to take attention from President Barack Obama and the nuclear deal with Iran, which he said “should be the focus.”

“It’s just crazy,” said Representative Glenn Thompson, a Pennsylvania Republican. “This has been one of the most productive Congresses.”

(Updates with Meadows comment, quotes from resolution starting in sixth paragraph.)
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