Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly filed a resolution to grant Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry expanded powers amidst House Republican in-fighting over selecting a new Speaker of the House.
After former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was removed from the office earlier this month, North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry assumed Speaker Pro Tempore until a vote could be held to select a new Speaker of the House. McCarthy is the first Speaker in U.S. history to be removed.
Kelly’s resolution follows several weeks of contentious debate within the Republican party as Congress seeks a permanent Speaker of the House.
“If McHenry is formally elected by the House, the resolution would temporarily expand his powers as Speaker Pro Tempore until November 17, 2023 or until a new Speaker is elected, whichever is earlier,” Kelly elaborated on his resolution. “Nov. 17 is the same day that the current continuing resolution, which provides government funding, expires.”
“By electing Rep. McHenry as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives, the House will be able to hold votes necessary to fund the government beyond Nov. 17, which is the expiration of our current fiscal year,” he continued. “Most importantly, and more broadly, we will be able to continue the work that the American people sent us here to do while we continue searching for a Speaker of the House.”
Last night, I introduced a resolution that would allow the House of Representatives to hold a formal election of the Honorable Patrick McHenry (R-NC) as Speaker Pro Tempore. McHenry is currently designated as Speaker Pro Tempore, which limits his powers (1/4) pic.twitter.com/qvaAxkaI0b
— Rep. Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyPA) October 17, 2023
“Over the thirteen days since Speaker McCarthy was removed from Speakership, we have heard presentations from many qualified candidates who are looking to succeed him,” reads a Monday letter from Kelly noting the House is unable to consider “critical legislation” on appropriation, border security, and aid for Israel after last week’s attack by Islamic militant group Hamas.
Kelly’s letter noted McHenry’s powers as Speaker Pro Tempore were limited and prevented Congress from moving legislation.
“Per the Parliamentarian, he is currently Speaker Pro Tempore by designation only. This limits his powers.” Kelly’s letter continued. “By formally electing him, we as a body give him the power to move legislation to the floor for consideration.”
The resolution states McHenry’s expanded powers would expire on Nov. 17 or upon the selection of a permanent Speaker of the House.
“We can have a healthy debate about who should lead the House Republican Conference, and I will continue to engage in that debate with you,” he concluded. “In the meantime, we have work to do that is in our nation’s interest both at home and abroad. I look forward to joining you in these efforts.”
A ballot to select a permanent Speaker of the House is expected sometime today.