In recent days, a small but vocal group of Republicans have called for Congress to ditch the traditional position of Speaker of the House. Citing a difficulty in passing legislation due to Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) unwillingness to accommodate their ideological stances, this group of legislators feel that the only way forward is to move ahead without a Speaker at the helm.
Led by Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), backers of this movement believe that a “three-body system” of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and members of Congress as a collective body who can offer guidance but no decisive authority would be the best way of getting legislative effort spinning again. Meadows cites the “increasingly factional” tug-of-war between the more conservative House Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group as the main wedge in the legislative process. He feels that the only way to bridge the divide would be to have a more non-partisan effort.
The proposal has so far been met with skepticism from party leaders who feel that removing the Speaker from the equation would only add to the gridlock, not alleviate it. But if Republicans hope to put an end to the current stalemate and get Congress moving once again, the idea of losing the Speaker may be worth considering. Although it may take a change in the legislative playing field, doing away with the traditional Speaker could open up Congress to a new and potentially more productive way of doing business.