After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy relied on Democrats Saturday to pass the crucial stopgap plan to fund the federal government, he is likely to face a motion to remove him from office this week. However, it remains unclear if there would be enough votes for his ouster.

On Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), a harsh critic of McCarthy, threatened to remove the speaker sometime this week. He said he would make use of a procedural tool, called a motion to vacate. While speaking on the House floor, Gaetz called on McCarthy to reveal details of an alleged deal with the White House to introduce legislation to provide assistance to Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“It is becoming increasingly clear who the speaker of the House already works for and it’s not the Republican Conference,” he added.

Here’s how a speaker can be removed by the House:

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Any single lawmaker can make a “motion to vacate the chair,” which is a bid to remove the speaker through a privileged resolution. This procedural tool has only been used twice in the past century but has never been successful. However, conservatives have been recently invoking this tool to threaten their leaders.

How does the Motion To Vacate work?

At any point in time, a member of the House can introduce a privileged resolution — a designation that gives it priority over other measures — to declare the office of the speaker of the House of Representatives vacant.

Once the motion is introduced, the lawmaker can walk onto the House floor and request a vote. Such a request would force House leaders to schedule a vote on the resolution within two legislative days.

But members of either party can halt the process or at least slow it down by introducing procedural motions. If these attempts to stop the motion are unsuccessful, and the resolution ends up on the floor for a vote, 218 votes (a simple majority of the House) would be needed to oust the speaker.

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