The growing rift among House Republicans reached a new height on Tuesday when Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) filed a motion to oust Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House Speaker.
In a copy of the resolution, obtained by Politico, Meadows claimed that Boehner has “endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent.”
Meadows, who is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group that is often in disagreement with Boehner, filed the motion after he was recently removed from his title as the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. Meadows lost the title after voting against “a leadership-backed procedural vote on trade legislation,” and was retuned to his post after protests from fellow conservatives, according to the Washington Post.
In his motion, Meadows also alleged that Boehner has diminished the “voice of the American people” through inaction, by weakening Congress and making it “subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches.”
“Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker,” wrote Meadows, who went on to say that Boehner “intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation,” and did not give House members the required three-day period to review legislation.
Some House members aren’t taking Meadows seriously, such as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, who called the motion a “gimmick” and suggested that Meadows was just doing it because he is “probably in trouble in his district so he needs a way to raise money.”
In contrast, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), also a member of the Freedom Caucus, said that he has “talked about the need for new leadership for a long time” because ultimately “people at home want us to take a new direction.”
Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) said that he hopes talk show hosts “pick up on this thing and beat the drum so loud that other members feel like they can be encouraged to join this effort to change the leadership of the House.”
Reuters noted that although it is unlikely the motion filed by Meadows will pass, “it highlights the friction within the Republican Party ahead of a presidential election in 2016.”
“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation on making this place work, where everybody’s voice matters, where there’s not a punitive culture,” Meadows said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some discussion about that in the days and weeks to come.”
Meadows was just one of the 25 House Republicans who voted against Boehner when he was up for re-election in Jan. After he secured his third term as House Speaker, Boehner retaliated against some of the lawmakers who voted against him, such as Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent, by removing them from the House Rules Committee.