by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The House passed its new rules package 220–213 on Monday night, despite concerns among several Republicans about concessions that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had made to a group of 20 GOP holdouts in his bid for the speakership.
Texas GOP Representative Tony Gonzales voted with the Democrats against the measure. While the Senate has 44 “standing rules” that carry over from one Congress to the next, the House must adopt a rules package each Congress to lay out how the lower chamber will operate.
Just days after McCarthy clinched the speakership — following four days and 15 rounds of voting — he was left to once again try to rally the support of his party to pass the rules package. Republicans can afford very few defections with their razor-thin majority.
The package includes just several of a slate of concessions that McCarthy made in an effort to win support for his speakership bid from the Republican holdouts. Many of those compromises were made orally, rather than having been explicitly written into the rules package.
Among the concessions made in the package is a requirement to provide 72 hours of notice before a vote on new legislation, to allow members to have more time to review bills before they reach the floor. The rules package also restores the motion to vacate, which allows just one member of the House to call a vote to remove McCarthy from his role as speaker.
Republican Representative Don Bacon told CNN that the motion to vacate is worrisome to him.
“I think if it gets abused, we have the ability to change it. So we’re gonna let people — let’s test the waters here for a while, but if it gets abused – I hear some people may – then we should change it. But we’ll prove our point that we should never have done it one in the first place,” he said.