Skip to main content

Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

Share
Politics

Former Rep. Reid Ribble: House speaker vote ‘has gotten personal’

Jan 05, 2023

Share

Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

Share

The House of Representatives entered its third day of voting to select its next speaker on Thursday. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., made fresh concessions overnight to the group of House Republicans who have kept him from securing the position in hopes of hitting the 218-vote threshold.

McCarthy agreed to reduce the number of House members needed to bring a vote to remove the speaker from five to one, according to reports. He also agreed to put more members of the Freedom Caucus on the Rules Committee, a powerful group that determines how legislation will be handled prior to being sent to the House floor for a vote.

Former Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., spoke with Straight Arrow News about the situation.

“There’s nothing that’s going to change. There are too many people that are completely locked in,” Ribble said. “There’s nothing that Kevin can give them beyond what he’s already offered that will move them to vote for him.”

Ribble said concessions on the motion to vacate could be a miscalculation on McCarthy’s part.

“I think it’s a mistake for Kevin to, to give them that, I think that there ought to be a threshold of maybe 15 or 20% of the majority to have a motion to vacate the chair,” he said. “But once you start negotiating with people who were not negotiating back with good faith, you’ve already lost the battle.”

While there has been discussion about the possibility of any Democrats ending the stalemate by supporting McCarthy, Ribble doesn’t see that happening, unless they simply give up on the process.

“The only way I think Democrats would actually help somebody win other than Kevin or even help Kevin win is simply by not showing up for the vote, they finally get tired of the circus,” Ribble added. “They just don’t come to the floor when a vote is called. And then the threshold required for Kevin McCarthy to become speaker goes down.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ray Bogan
It’s day three of the House Speaker election and Congressman Kevin McCarthy made new concessions overnight, hoping to secure the votes he needs. According to reports, he agreed to lower the number of members needed to bring forward a vote to remove the speaker from five down to one. He also agreed to put more members of the Freedom Caucus on the Rules Committee. That’s a very powerful group that debates legislation before it’s sent to the floor for a vote. Here to explain how the house can elect a speaker and get to work is former congressman Reid. Ribble of Wisconsin. Thanks so much for being here.

Reid Ribble
And happy to be with you. Thank you now.

Ray Bogan
Now they’ve taken twice as many votes for speaker in three days than you took in six years. Now. Kevin McCarthy is facing pressure from Republicans to figure this out. And we have video here of members elect talking it over on the House floor yesterday. Now you’ve been there. How do negotiations change, when you’re three days into something that urgently needs to get done?

There’s nothing that’s going to change. There are too many people that are completely locked in. I mean, we even had one congressman from North Carolina, say yesterday that he’s going to resign and Kevin McCarthy were to win. And so they’re able there’s very small majority of members are able to withhold that position from Kevin McCarthy. And that’s looks like it’s likely to be the result. There’s nothing that Kevin can give them beyond what he’s already offered. That will move them to bathrooms. I mean, Matt gates and Lauren Bollgard have already said they won’t vote my circumstances. I don’t know why Kevin would be negotiating with them at all anymore. It’s not likely to move anybody.

Ray Bogan
Now let’s talk about this one person motion to vacate which would allow one single member of Congress which is a body of 435 people to bring forward a resolution to vote on it to remove the speaker of the house that’s been described as untenable. But if it came to fruition, how would it work?

Well, it worked when I was there, because Mark Meadows, who later became Chief of Staff for President Trump fell in motion to vacate the chair against Speaker John Boehner, one person. And then what happens is, there’s a period of time a cooling off period that a negotiation takes place to see whether or not that privilege motion is actually going to go to the floor, ultimately, that one member could enforce it to the floor. John Boehner resigned, but before that actually happened. But in essence, one person representing 700,000 American citizens, while the remaining 432, representative, three and 30 million, that one person was able to force that vote, I think it’s a mistake for Kevin to, to give them that, I think that there ought to be a threshold of maybe 15 or 20% of the majority to have a motion to vacate the chair. But once you start negotiating with people who were not negotiating back with good faith, you’ve already watched the battle.

Ray Bogan
Now, the group that’s doing all this, the Freedom Caucus is in lockstep with each other, and they have 20 members. So what’s the difference between a one person motion to vacate or a five person motion to vacate if all 20 of these members are agreeing to stick together?

Well, there really is no difference, quite frankly, that’s why I said it needed to be 20% of the majority, that would be a reasonable threshold to force a vote for the speaker. Remember, though, that the speaker does work for the members, and the members ought to have a reasonable mechanism, which will remove speaker who’s doing the will of the majority. And we saw something similar last year, when or two years ago, when they remove Liz Cheney, as the conference chair, that conference decided she was no longer dealing in good faith or communicating the message that the conference wanted to communicate. And so there was a vehicle inside that majority with which to remover. And what they’re saying is they want the threshold of having a vote, move from about, you know, 75 or 80% of the membership down to one person. And I think that threshold is too low, but there ought to be a threshold. And not all the members of the Freedom Caucus are on board with this, by the way.

Ray Bogan
We have a quote here from representative like DEREK VAN orden. He was a Republican from Wisconsin, he said a minority of our party has decided that they want to continue with this obstruction. And it’s actually becoming detrimental to our nation. At what point does concern about public perception come into the equation for Republicans?

I think I think it’s already happened and it will only get worse if they can move off of where they’re at. And so ultimately, they’re going to I believe, ultimately, they’re going to have to find somebody else that the majority can support whether it’s Steve Scalise or even Congressman Mike Gallagher from Up in Green Bay, who took over for me after I left somebody that has a broader appeal to the base of the members. Listen, this has gotten personal. And so no matter what Kevin McCarthy offers to give them in the form of rules and process changes, which by the way, many of them are reasonable just to vacate the chair I don’t think is reasonable. The others are. They’re still not going to vote for Kevin McCarthy. And so they need to come up with a different option. Clearly, it’s not going to be somebody that just those five people select, but it’s going to require 218 members of the House doing

Ray Bogan
now, let me ask you the same question, but from the opposite perspective, Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur indicated she may be willing to help Kevin McCarthy in a coalition vote, while another Democratic Congressman ro Khanna indicated he may be willing to help another Republican become speaker, but not Kevin McCarthy. So what are the chances of Democrats coming across the aisle to help a Republican win?

I don’t think there’s any chance of it at all. I mean, the only way I think Democrats would actually help somebody win other than Kevin or even help Kevin win is simply by not showing up for the vote, they finally get tired of the circus. And they just don’t come to the floor when a vote is called. And then the threshold required for Kevin McCarthy to become speaker goes down. So let’s say 40. Democrats get tired of the of the circus, and they just don’t show up to vote. The threshold now dropped to 201. And Kevin McCarthy become Speaker of the House, I would see that as a more likely scenario, then go shape or an alternate candidate. I just don’t see that that happening.

Ray Bogan
And then from the opposite perspective, the Democratic leader Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has received 212 votes on each and every ballot. So that makes him just sick short. So is there a path for him to try to figure out a way to win over some Republicans to come across the aisle?

No, there’s no path for there’s no path for Hakeem Jeffries at all. It’s just not going to happen. And so it’s nice to kind of fantasize about it and say why if they did this, they did that. But you’re not going to get six Republicans to move over the vote for a Democrat speaker when the American people just gave Republicans a majority. Now there might be regretting that they get the majority of the way they’re acting right now. And this is a prelude to how they’re going to govern. So I think you’ve got some American citizens wondering if they made the right choice in November.

Ray Bogan
Well, former congressman Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Reid Ribble

It’s very good to be with you. Thank you.