A lot of the holdout for McCarthy seems to be dissolving because of backroom deals. Are these backroom deals binding? Does anything for example force McCarthy to accept a motion to vacate (remove the speaker) and hold a vote on the request of five congressmen?

Or, can he just simply lie, make the deal and take the seat?

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    They still need to pass a rules package, which should contain those concessions. If it doesn't, then I have no idea what happens next, but it's probably unpleasant.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 6:59
  • @Kevin Or maybe not. The Democrats had nothing to gain by lending support to Kevin McCarthy during that 15 vote slog. They do however have something to gain by providing support for changes that would alter some of the proposed rule changes to which McCarthy very reluctantly agreed so as to win the Speakership. We'll see next week; pass the popcorn. Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 13:27
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    Keep in mind that McCarthy still has to actually get legislation passed, committees formed, etc. If the very first thing he does is go back on promises he made to get support, he's not going to get support for anything else.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 23:43
  • Amusingly, the practice has been tried when electing a pope, and the first pope to have been imposed such restrictions violated them... but then the Speaker is not an absolute monarch. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


The Republican party's proposed rules package was presumably modified, in writing, to reflect those backroom deals. That proposed rules package however has to pass by a majority vote. (The Democrats also have a proposed rules package, but it is presumably dead on arrival.) If the rules package proposed by the Republicans doesn't pass as-is, the proposed changes to the rules from the previous Congress (and any new proposed changes) can be dealt with on a one-by-one basis.

The metarules for how the rules are set are nearly set in stone. The new House cannot change those metarules until they have agreed upon the rules themselves. To establish the rules for the new Congress, the new Congress has to live with the old metarules, some of which are very, very old.

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    Are there prior cases of the House voting down a rules package after electing a Speaker?
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 22:15
  • I'm asking more info about said "metarules" in this question politics.stackexchange.com/questions/77575/… Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 3:42
  • What if the proposed rules are never brought to the floor and McCarthy changes them after winning the speakership? Does anything stop him from doing this? Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 18:24

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