A small group of moderate Democrats called for the expansion of the power of Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, as House Republicans take the weekend to see if their second speaker nominee in three days, House Judiciary Chairman, can win over the dozens of lawmakers in his own party who are blocking his path to the speakership.
Four Democrats, all members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, wrote to McHenry to propose that until a speaker is elected, his authority should be temporarily increased to bring specific legislation to the House floor, according to the letter, which was obtained by CBS News.
Measures covering three areas would be allowed under their proposal: emergency foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel; an extension of the existing continuing resolution to fund the government through Jan. 11, in order to prevent a government shutdown; and committee work and consideration of individual spending bills.
The Democrats also included bills introduced under suspension of the rules; these measures are considered with limited floor debate, without amendments or points of order, and they must pass with a two-thirds majority vote. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy brought the continuing resolution toto the floor under suspension of the rules. That bill, passed with the support of nearly every Democrat and over the “no” votes of 90 in the GOP conference, prevented a government shutdown but ultimately cost him his speakership.
The Democrats, Reps. Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey; Susie Lee, of Nevada; Ed Case, of Hawaii; and Jared Golden, of Maine, also suggested that the expansion of authorities should be renewed every 15 days. It is likely that the measure would require a bipartisan vote, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has yet to weigh in with his views on the proposal.