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Press Release

Dear Colleague on the Pending Republican Motion to Vacate the Chair

October 3, 2023

Dear Colleague:

Earlier today, we convened as a Caucus to discuss the current state of affairs in the House of Representatives. Emerging from the meeting, we are unified in our commitment to put people over politics, continue to build a healthy economy and make life more affordable for everyday Americans. 

The House was designed by our nation’s framers to be the closest to the American people and reflect the hopes, dreams and aspirations of those we are privileged to represent. Instead, under the Republican majority, the House has been restructured to empower right-wing extremists, kowtow to their harsh demands and impose a rigid partisan ideology. The Constitution gifted us a government of the people, by the people and for the people. House Republicans have undermined that principle at every turn and unleashed chaos, dysfunction and extremism on hardworking American taxpayers. 

First, the House was plunged into unprecedented dysfunction in connection with the leadership election during the first week of January. Instead of partnering with Democrats to break the deadlock, the House Republican Conference adopted an unprecedented package of rules governing this institution designed to detonate bipartisan governance. Right-wing Republicans with an extensive track record of obstructing the people’s business were appointed to the powerful Rules Committee, effectively giving them a veto over bipartisan legislative efforts. Every single House Republican, including those who present themselves as more traditional, voted to support the extreme rules package.  

Second, in prior Congresses the Motion to Vacate the Chair could only be brought by the Majority Leader or the Minority Leader, upon direction from members of the body. Instead of preserving the motion to vacate as an extraordinary vehicle to be used rarely, if ever, House Republicans willingly transformed it into an instrument that could be deployed by any extreme member of their conference at any time. Once again, the House Republican Conference in its entirety empowered the MAGA extremists to paralyze the institution.

Third, from the very beginning of the 118th Congress, House Democrats have made it clear that we will find common ground with our Republican colleagues wherever possible.  We have done so repeatedly on behalf of the American people. At the same time, House Democrats have made clear that we will forcefully combat extremism whenever necessary.

Democrats came together in a bipartisan way to avert a catastrophic Republican-driven default on our debt that would have crashed the economy.  Rather than celebrate and affirm this major bipartisan achievement, extreme MAGA Republicans immediately turned against it.  House Republicans backed out of the agreement with President Biden that they themselves negotiated just days after its passage, hurdling us toward this chaotic moment. 

Fourth, the Armed Services Committee this summer worked hard to advance a strongly bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to the House Floor. The bill emerged from committee by a vote of 58-1. Instead of supporting our military readiness and embracing this bipartisan legislative effort, Republicans hijacked the National Defense Authorization Act and turned the bill into a right-wing wish list full of highly partisan poison pills. The House Republican decision to jam their extreme right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people included radical provisions to rip away reproductive freedom from military women. This type of extreme governance is unacceptable. 

Fifth, after claiming that an impeachment inquiry would be initiated only through a vote on the floor of the people’s House and not through a declaration by one person, House Republicans did the opposite. Extreme MAGA Republicans are wasting time and taxpayer dollars peddling an illegitimate impeachment inquiry despite their own witnesses testifying under oath that there is no evidence that President Joe Biden engaged in any wrongdoing. Rather than work with us to solve problems for everyday Americans, extremism continues to run rampant in the House of Representatives.

We confront a serious, solemn and sober moment. The vote that the House will cast this week in connection with a Motion to Vacate the Chair is not about any one individual. Our responsibility as Members of Congress relates to the Constitution, the principle of good governance and the people we are privileged to serve. Nothing more, and nothing less. 

In that regard, House Democrats remain willing to find common ground on an enlightened path forward. Unfortunately, our extreme Republican colleagues have shown no willingness to do the same. It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War. Given their unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism in an authentic and comprehensive manner, House Democratic leadership will vote yes on the pending Republican Motion to Vacate the Chair.



Hakeem Jeffries 

Democratic Leader