WASHINGTON — The House in the coming weeks could formalize a method for stripping members of committee posts, according to a deal Rep. Nancy Mace said she hashed out with Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the hours before Thursday's vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from House Foreign Affairs.
Mace, R-S.C., said she brought a draft resolution to the speaker intended to implement "due process" for committee removals. She told CQ Roll Call in an interview that McCarthy shook hands on bringing the measure to the floor for a vote within 30 days.
"We don't want to keep going back and forth and politicizing the process and doing this tit-for-tat because that's what's going to happen and it's got to stop," Mace said.
The draft text could be released as early as next week. According to Mace, it would amend Rule 23 of the House, the chamber's code of conduct, to create a formal process to remove a member from a committee. "So it gives it actual teeth and gives it due process," Mace said.
Mace proposed amending the rule so that when a member files a complaint about another member for allegedly violating the code of conduct, that triggers an Ethics Committee investigation, a hearing and a vote by the committee.
Only after that process plays out would a resolution to remove a member from a committee go to the floor for a vote. Details remain to be worked out, such as the vote tally required in Ethics to discharge a case to the floor.
A spokesperson for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries confirmed the two party leaders on Thursday discussed creating a bipartisan group to work out the details.
"Leader Jeffries spoke on the House floor with Speaker McCarthy, and will further evaluate his proposal upon the selection of the Republican members who he wants to participate in this discussion," the spokesperson said.
Mace has been talking with Democrats, but declined to state which members she brought her plan to ahead of meeting with McCarthy.
As for Republicans to serve in that bipartisan group, McCarthy listed Mace and Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado as members he plans to name.
"We'll work to come and clarify the rules and pass something for not only this Congress but future Congresses as well," the speaker told reporters.
Mace explained that could mean more clearly defining the current code of conduct.
But she declined to speak on whether guardrails should be added to address violent or incendiary comments by members.
"There will be members that will want to define speech, potentially, but we'll have to see what the input is from other members and I'm willing to listen to all sides," Mace said.
Democrats argued this week that such comments by Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., had warranted stripping them of all committee assignments in the previous Congress, whereas Omar's rhetoric didn't warrant removal.
But Mace argues that the move under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi "bastardized the process."
"We're going to fix what got mucked up two years ago by Pelosi," she said.