4

There are various articles floating around noting that incumbent Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces "tight margins" for the Speaker's election, especially since the coronavirus pandemic may force some members into self-isolation, resulting in them unable to be physically present on the floor to vote on January 3.

From The Hill:

“Let's say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with Covid and the Republicans have none. They probably could elect [Kevin] McCarthy,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), referring to the House GOP leader.

While such a scenario is unlikely to materialise, theoretically, is it realistic for Kevin McCarthy to be elected the Speaker of the House? Is there any mechanism that allows for the Speaker's election to be delayed if the Democrats do not have enough members present on the floor for the vote on January 3?

I'm aware that even if Kevin McCarthy is elected Speaker, his tenure will probably be temporary since the Speaker can be removed by a majority vote in the House at a later date. I'm asking whether McCarthy has a realistic chance of being elected Speaker, even if it is temporary, or whether the House can delay the Speaker's election.

1
  • At the third link you provided there is a quote that says "A resolution declaring the Office of Speaker vacant presents a question of constitutional privilege, though the House has never removed a Speaker." I am not a lawyer but it seems that given that it has never happened before, in a system based on interpretations and precedents, it would be kind of scary for the majority to want to rely upon being able to make this happen. – H2ONaCl Jan 4 at 3:46
2

While such a scenario is unlikely to materialise, theoretically, is it realistic for Kevin McCarthy to be elected the Speaker of the House?

Is there any mechanism that allows for the Speaker's election to be delayed if the Democrats do not have enough members present on the floor for the vote on January 3?

Much of this is addressed in The authority to convene a new House of Representatives. There can be no delay in the vote for Speaker.

Every Congress begins with representatives presenting certificates of election to the clerk and other formalities before election of the Speaker. If the number of Republicans outnumber Democrats during the first day of the 117th Congress, then McCarthy could be made Speaker. It is only after the Speaker has been elected, that the Congress can get to the business of legislating.

1
  • 2
    Or presumably if a third candidate split the Dem vote? Nothing prevents someone opposed to Pelosi's leadership from standing does it? – Jontia Jan 1 at 13:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .