As members prepare for the 113th Congress, several have been dissatisfied with Speaker Boehner's conduct: he's been accused of booting more conservative members off of major committees, and the abject failure that is "Plan B" seems to have been the final straw for some. Breitbart News reports that there's a plan circulating some offices intended to facilitate the election of a new Speaker of the House come January.
Several conservative House Republican members are contemplating a plan to unseat Speaker John Boehner from his position on January 3, Breitbart News has exclusively learned. Staffers have compiled a detailed action plan that, if executed, could make this a reality.
The circulated plan is a comprehensive multi-step process.
According to the plan as drafted, the first step is to re-establish the election of the Speaker of the House by secret ballot, rather than by a public roll call vote. That’s because the members who would oppose Boehner, if there ended up not being enough votes to achieve their desired result or if Boehner scared via threat or coaxed via prize some of the opposition into voting for him, would be sitting ducks for retaliation in the near future.
As one hill staffer considering this path told Breitbart News, the members involved in an unsuccessful coup d’etat would be “toast.”
To establish a secret ballot election for Speaker of the House, one Republican member will need to step forward and introduce a resolution on the House floor on the morning of January 3, 2013, before any other business takes place. Those close to this plan are convinced that a member will step forward and introduce this resolution.
These anonymous staffers note that there is no specific replacement in mind, but that one would surely emerge if a majority didn’t vote for Boehner. And, as the article makes clear, due to House rules that a true majority, and not simply a plurality, must elect the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t be able to win (unless, of course, a few Republicans voted for her).
The second step of the circulated plan would require enough GOP members to band together and vote for somebody other than Boehner as Speaker. Since Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., has resigned his position, there will be 434 voting members on January 3. For someone to win the Speaker election, they’d need to secure 217 votes – or a majority of everyone voting.
Since there are 233 Republicans heading into the next Congress, only 17 Republicans would be needed to unseat Boehner. The House would continue having multiple elections throughout the day on January 3 until it agreed upon a new Speaker.
It's clearly a plan born of extreme frustration with the way things have run in the House over the past two years, but given the lack of a clear viable alternative, and the extremely large coalition that would need to form among Republican members backing that person, at least at this point it seems unlikely. Boehner, for his part, certainly doesn't think so. In a post-cliff-vote press conference, he shrugged off any concern that his fellows would try for his ouster.
“While we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases, I don’t think — they weren’t taking that out on me,” he said at a press conference.
Joining him was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the man who had been seen as his chief rival, in a show of unity that seemed designed to quell any talk of a challenge to Mr. Boehner’s speakership.
Of course, it’s possible that the plan is gaining steam behind the scenes – given the anonymity, there’s not telling how many members are backing it, and they're certainly trying to keep it a secret from Boehner himself. Perhaps, come January 3, he'll have to answer to his perturbed colleagues after all.