Friday, December 02, 2022

Billy Long: Who will be the Speaker of the House

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

As the 117th Congress comes to a close, the work of selecting the new Speaker of the House has already begun. Each party has nominated their candidate, and on January 3, 2023, the full House of Representatives will vote for the Speaker. But how does that process work? And what happens if somebody doesn’t get enough votes.

Just before the 118th Congress is sworn in, all Members-elect will meet in the House chamber to vote on the Speaker. Each party will formally nominate their candidates for the post. 

For the Republicans this will be current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the Democrats will nominate Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). 

After the nominating speeches, the Clerk of the House will call the roll of Members-elect in alphabetical order. Once a Member-elect’s name is called, they will rise and state the last name of the candidate they wish to vote for. Then the votes are tallied, and if a candidate has the majority of the votes of Members-elect present and voting, they are declared the Speaker.

With the new Republican majority being only a few votes, there has been some talk about a contested race for Speaker. A few Members-elect have voiced opposition to Leader McCarthy, and that puts the vote in question. 

Leader McCarthy won in the House Republican Conference with 188 votes, far less than the requisite majority. The majority of the full House is 218, but that is not the number required to actually win the Speakership. 

I stated earlier that the winner must receive a majority of the Members-elect present and voting. That means that if there are any vacancies or not all Members-elect are present for the vote, then the number required to win is less. The same is true if any Members-elect vote “present” meaning they simply record that they were in the chamber at the time, but do not record a vote for any candidate. 

If that happens, then the winning candidate must only receive the majority of those who voted for a candidate in the election. This has happened three times in recent history, in 1997 for Speaker Newt Gingrich, in 2015 for Speaker John Boehner and in 2021 for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Each of them were elected with 216 votes, two less than the full majority of the House. 

If nobody receives the majority of voting Members-elect, than the roll is called again, until a Speaker is declared. The last time this happened was in 1923, when nine ballots were required to elect the Speaker.

There has been talk about what might happen if Leader McCarthy doesn’t receive the requisite votes to win. Some Members have talked about working with the Democrats to pick a more “moderate” Republican if several ballots are required. 

My hope is that when the 118th Congress convenes, they will be able to elect the Speaker on the first ballot, avoiding a process that we have not seen in exactly 100 years.


Anonymous said...

What? Anonymous has nothing to say about eating steaks in Vegas?

Anonymous said...

Tick that keeps sucking.

Anonymous said...

Imagine thinking that "Washington DC" and "government" don't work like you think they should.

Then imagine yourself thinking that Billy Long is the man to fix what you think ails your government.

So you vote for him.

Billy Long goes to Washington DC and Las Vegas and wherever else he can get a meal he didn't pay for and wherever people will give him lots of money.

Anonymous said...

Like he isn't rolling the same as every other member of congress. Their breath all smells the same.