During a closely watched vote on Monday (January 9), House lawmakers adopted a rules package to govern how the lower chamber operates for the next two years.
After a protracted Speaker fight, the package passed primarily on party lines, with all but one Republican voting in favor of the rules package and all Democrats opposing it.
The passage of the rules packages is a relative victory for newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) after struggling for several days to get many of his fellow Republicans to back him.
The contents of the rule package were central to McCarthy’s closed-door negotiations with holdout Republicans last week to secure the Speaker’s gavel.
The California Republican had to make several concessions to get a group of unwavering holdouts to support his Speaker bid, finally acquiring enough votes to wield the gavel in the 15th ballot.
The lack of transparency and the provisions McCarthy agreed to left many wondering if the new rules would turn off moderate Republicans.
That was only the case for Rep. Tony Gonzales (Texas), who followed through on a promise he made on Friday (January 6) that he would oppose the rule changes.
The remaining moderate Republicans, who recently voiced misgivings about McCarthy’s concessions, didn’t act on those when it came time to vote.
The most controversial rule — which McCarthy agreed to in a host of concessions — is the single-member motion to vacate the chair.
This rule enables any lawmaker to force a vote to oust the Speaker.
In November, Republicans agreed to maintain the rule that the majority of one party would have to agree before instituting a vote to oust the Speaker — put in place during former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tenure.
On New Year’s Day, amid urging from conservative lawmakers, McCarthy dropped the threshold to five lawmakers.
Eventually, as he tried to win over holdouts, he had to drop the threshold to only one lawmaker, where it had been for years prior to Pelosi’s change.