By: Susan Knowles
How many times have you seen a political advocacy group with the caption, “The Speaker of the House must be fired! Sign the Petition now!-?” This effort has been circulating around since 2011, shortly after John Boehner was first elected to the position as Speaker of the House.
Why then hasn’t anything been done? What’s the hold up? When are we going to stop talking and actually take some action on firing the current Speaker of the House?
Let me start out by saying that I have nothing personal against John Boehner. In fact, I wrote an article about Speaker Boehner which is posted on my website. My article is titled, John Boehner: What Changed Him? It takes a look at John Boehner the man and also explores his political career.
I researched and wrote the article to find out what makes him tick and where along the line he seemingly veered off course from that of a man who by all accounts, hailed from modest beginnings, was hardworking, blue collar, and down to earth. What I concluded is that sometimes money and power can change even the most hardworking and down to earth person.
With that being said, I am in favor of removing John Boehner as Speaker of the House. I believe that he is not representing the will of the people. We have seen the tears, watched him play golf with the President, and saw him blame Tea Party Senators like Ted Cruz for shutting down the government earlier this year when Cruz tried to stop Obamacare. We’ve also witnessed the long walk with his head down and tail between his legs, one too many times, as he left the White House after suddenly changing his tune and singing the praises of bipartisanship actions. The results have been a compromising of our conservative principles rather than doing what we sent him there to do. He has let the Republicans down over and over again.
I believe he has become just another politician who is doing what’s in his own best interests and not what’s in the best interests of his constituents? His voting record is another indication of his lack of acting in our best interests and on our behalf.
In researching a website which records Boehner’s voting record, I discovered that from January 2013 to December 2013, there were approximately 95 bills brought forth for a vote in the House. Out of those 95 bills, John Boehner voted only approximately 14 times. Most of the time, however, he did not vote at all. Was he too busy to represent the American people? Is this a typical voting record for a Senator? You be the judge.
In order to remove the Speaker of the House from the position there are grounds that must be alleged and certain steps that must be followed.
The 110th Congress House Rules Manual – House Document No. 109-157 which individuals cited to introduce a plan to impeach then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (2007-2011) is summarized as follows:
The rules of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 110th Congress provides for the removal of a seated Speaker, during session, for the purposes of preserving the “dignity, and the integrity of its proceedings” under the constitutional prerogative of its function with respect to impeachment. Any member of the House can bring forth a resolution presenting a question of privilege to declare the Speakership vacant based on this provision.
Assuming that the 112th Congress House Rules Manual has not been modified and still reflects the 110th House Rules, then it could be used as grounds to remove Boehner
It was suggested by some in 2012, following John Boehner’s election in 2011 as Speaker of the House and his burgeoning failure in that position, that the House take action to make sure that he was not re-elected as Speaker in 2013.
The plan, at that time, called for the House of Representatives to abstain from voting for Speaker Boehner so that he would not receive the required number of votes to be elected. House rules demand that in order to elect a Speaker of the House, he or she must receive a majority of the votes or 218 votes. If the nominee for Speaker falls below this number then the House would be without a Speaker. In short, if 16 House Republicans abstain from voting for a nominee then he/she would only receive 217 votes or 1 vote shy of the required votes to be elected.
Obviously, this plan fell on deaf ears since Boehner was re-elected in 2013. We are now left with the more difficult task of removing a current Speaker.
In order to remove a sitting Speaker of the House, it appears that the American people will need to sign a petition letting the House of Representatives know that we are serious and want Boehner removed from the position of Speaker. Next, if we are heard, only one member of the House of Representatives would be required to step forward, ask for the removal of the Speaker on the appropriate grounds (House Rules Manual), and then declare that the Speakership is vacant. Once vacant, a new Speaker must be elected.
Only three senators come to mind who might be willing to step up to the plate and do what’s right for the interests of the American people. Those senators are Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Mike Lee. They would be taking a huge career risk but from what I have seen, they are risk takers. However, since they are not members of the House they would be ineligible to seek Boehner’s removal under the House Rules.
The downside to firing of John Boehner is that historically the attempts to remove a Speaker have not been successful. The most recent attempt was in 1997, when several Republican leaders tried to oust Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich refused to resign supposedly because his removal may have led to a Democrat Speaker being elected to fill the position. That is also the risk if Boehner is fired. A new election will need to be held and a Democrat, perhaps even Nancy Pelosi or just as bad, if not worse, Senator Harry Reid could become Speaker of the House.
We have a decision to make that is unfortunately, not going to be an easy one. We can sit and do nothing and continue to watch Speaker Boehner sell the conservative voters down the river every chance he gets.
Otherwise, we can move forward with the petition signing after finding out if there is still a politician in the House of Representatives that is prepared to follow the will of the people and not his/her own will. Again, if the removal is successful we risk getting a Democrat Speaker of the House. Finally, historically, firing a Speaker of the House has not generally been successful.
I believe our only hope is to make 2014 the year that conservatives take back control of both the House and the Senate. In that way, we are most likely assured to get a Speaker of the House who shares the same conservative viewpoints that this country needs rather than one who bashes Tea Party conservatives and fails to follow the will of the people.
——- GB ——-
Susan Knowles is an author, psychotherapist and former practicing attorney. Her latest book, a political fiction, is entitled, “Freedom’s Fight: A Call to Remember” available on Amazon.com. Her website is www.susanknowles.com, where this article may also be found.
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