5

If the senate majority leader is refusing to do his job, can the other Senators vote to expel him or force a vote for new leadership?

6

Yes. The following are all options I'm aware of:

  • A 2/3 of the Senate (67+ votes) can vote to expel any sitting Senator as per Article 1, Section 5 of US Constitution. An expelled Senator can of course no longer serve as a Majority leader.

    "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member."

    This requires at least 17+ votes from Majority party in 50/50 Senate, and at least 20+ Majority party votes in current 53 majority Senate, assuming that 100% of minority party unanimously agrees.

    This is the only option available to influence directly to members of the minority party, obviously with participation of at least a meaningful part of majority party.

    All other options are 100% outside the control of minority party senators.

  • A Majority Leader can be pressured to resign from the position voluntarily (Trent Lott was, for example).

  • A Majority party caucus votes to elect a new Majority leader every 2 years, during Congress change. Majority party can then choose to elect someone else.

  • In theory, Majority party caucus can vote to elect a new Majority leader (as they are the ones who decide who leads them) at any time. I haven't found a single case of that happening, but also no mention of any rules preventing that.

  • A combination of other effects (party switching, impeachments, resignations, deaths, next elections, etc...) can cause opposite party to take Majority.

  • A good reminder that there is a large section of the American constitution that is not part of The Constitution, but consists of rules, traditions, conventions... not unlike the constitution of another English speaking realm. – James K Jan 5 at 19:11
  • 1
    In principle, the House could impeach the majority leader and the Senate could convict. But since that still requires 2/3 of the Senate to be on board, it's basically a more complex version of expulsion – Stephen Collings Jan 5 at 23:57
  • 4
    @Stephen Collings Members of Congress are neither civil officers of the United States nor are they judges serving during periods of good behavior, so they cannot be impeached. Expulsion and elections are the sole methods for removing a member of either house. law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/article-2/section-4/… – Andrew Jan 6 at 0:40

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.