Multiple reports that House Speaker John Boehner has cut a deal to pass a long-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security without ties to rolling back President Obama’s executive action on immigration has reignited rumblings about a Boehner coup.
The deal was purportedly struck as the House agreed late Friday night to fund the agency for seven days to avoid a partial shutdown.
At least one congressional aide said the deal between Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was to get enough Democratic votes in the Republican-led chamber to avoid the shutdown at midnight Friday, in exchange for Boehner’s promise to allow a vote next week on a long-term funding bill “clean” of the immigration issue.
Boehner spokesman Mike Steel told Fox News that such a deal doesn’t exist. Pelosi’s office has neither confirmed nor denied such a deal.
The calls for Boehner’s ouster appear to be coming mostly from the 50-plus, most-conservative members who formed the new Freedom Caucus. And they appear to be growing more restless.
The number of House Republicans who voted Friday night against the 7-day funding for DHS was 55, compared to 52 who voted against the failed 3-week funding bill earlier in the evening.
The party’s most conservative wing tried unsuccessfully in January, at the start of the 114th Congress, to replace Boehner.
A dozen House Republicans either voted for somebody else or didn’t cast a vote.
Ousting a House speaker is unprecedented. Electing a House speaker and thus trying to remove one is a “privileged” effort in the lower chamber. Privileged resolutions can skip to the front of the legislative line and not be sidetracked by leadership.
Jefferson’s Manual, crafted by Thomas Jefferson and still used today as one of the main sources for House operations, says the following:
“A Speaker may be removed at the will of the House and a Speaker pro tempore appointed.”
But it’s unclear how that process happens since no speaker has ever faced a challenge in the middle of the Congress.
Boehner opponents could write a “privileged” resolution declaring that the speakership is vacant. The House would then vote on that motion or possibly vote to table or kill it.
The closest the House ever got to this scenario came during the failed coup attempt in July 1997 on House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
They tried to bring forth such a privileged “vacancy” resolution, but the coup fizzled after Gingrich learned of it and those who tried it realized they didn’t have the votes.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.