A House conservative who isn't exactly a household name made a surprise move today to try to oust John Boehner as speaker. The long-shot "vacate the chair" resolution comes from North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, and the Washington Post reports that it's been tried only once before—105 years ago—when it failed. Among other things, Meadows argues in his resolution that Boehner uses his speakership to punish those who vote against him. “It’s really more about trying to have a conversation on making this place work, where everybody’s voice matters, where there’s not a punitive culture,” says Meadows. He tells Politico he's more interested in forcing a "discussion" than in an actual vote against Boehner.
His resolution now goes to the Rules Committee, where the Hill notes that Chairman Pete Sessions, a Boehner ally, could ignore it. Even so, the move comes just ahead of a six-week recess, virtually guaranteeing that House Republicans will be questioned about it over the break. If it does come to a vote, Democrats would have to join House conservatives in ousting Boehner, another long-shot. "My guess is, he's probably in trouble in his district so he needs a way to raise money," says another Boehner ally, Devin Nunes, who dismissed it as a "gimmick." Boehner's office has not commented. (Read more John Boehner stories.)