Freedom Caucus pushes McCarthy to oust Pelosi as speaker over Jan. 6 committee

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Members of the House Freedom Caucus are calling on Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to use a procedural tactic to remove Speaker Nancy Pelosi from her leadership post, citing her decision to block Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan from the Jan. 6 select committee.

In a letter sent to McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday, the conservative group accused Pelosi (D-Calif.) of holding “an authoritarian reign” over the lower chamber, arguing her recent actions warrant moving forward with vacating the chair.

“We, the House Freedom Caucus, respectfully request that you pursue the authorization of the House Republican Conference, pursuant to Conference rules, to file and bring up a privileged motion by July 31, 2021, to vacate the chair and end Nancy Pelosi’s authoritarian reign as Speaker of the House,” they wrote.

“Rule IX, Clause 3 of the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred Seventeenth Congress requires that ‘A resolution causing a vacancy in the Office of Speaker shall not be privileged except if offered by direction of a party caucus or conference.’”

Republicans have been highly critical of Pelosi’s rejection of Banks (R-Ind.) and Jordan (R-Ohio), two of former President Donald Trump’s strongest allies in Congress, alleging it proves the panel is politically motivated. Pelosi announced the ouster of the two McCarthy choices for the committee — which is tasked with investigating the deadly siege on the Capitol when pro-Trump rioters attempted to disrupt the certification of the election — on Wednesday.

Banks was McCarthy’s choice to be the top Republican on the panel as the ranking member.

The committee — led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) — also pointed to Pelosi’s decision to extend proxy voting initially put in place at the start of the pandemic and require members to walk through magnetometers before entering the chamber as examples of what they feel are abuses of power.

“Speaker Pelosi’s tenure is destroying the House of Representatives and our ability to faithfully represent the people we are here to serve. Speaker Pelosi has championed unconstitutional changes like allowing proxy voting and insulting security measures like metal detectors for Members coming to the floor to vote,” the letter says.

“Less easily reversible is the damage done to the institution by the Leadership of one party dictating the ability of Members of another party to serve in roles at the discretion of their own conference. That abuse cannot go unchecked. Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to seat Rep. Jim Jordan  and Rep. Jim Banks on the Select Committee to Investigate January 6 is intolerable.”

The lawmakers also pointed to Democrats voting to remove controversial GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from her committee assignments after a string of inflammatory social media posts emerged from before she was in Congress.

“That this follows the intolerable action of unseating another Republican from her committees makes clear that Speaker Pelosi has no interest in representative democracy, let alone protecting institutional norms. Republicans, under your leadership, must show the American people that we will act to protect our ability to represent their interests,” they continued.

Should McCarthy opt to move forward with forcing the Pelosi vote, it faces a nearly impossible path to passage in the Democrat-controlled lower chamber. But the California Republican could feel pressure to act, with the House Freedom Caucus providing a pivotal bloc of votes needed to obtain the speaker’s gavel should Republicans take back the House in the midterms.

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