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What does the Speaker of the House do? Job description and salary

With Kevin McCarthy removed from his role as Speaker of the House, many in the GOP caucus are considering a run... what responsibilities would they have?

With Kevin McCarthy removed from his role as Speaker of the House, many in the GOP caucus are considering a run... what responsibilities would they have?

After a short eight-month tenure, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-R) has been removed as Speaker of the House. The ousting of Rep. McCarthy marks the first occasion in which a motion to remove a speaker has passed.

Representatives are heading home as GOP leaders grapple with the fallout of having their Speaker removed. Rep. McCarthy has conceded to the far-right faction that voted with Democrats to vacate him, announcing that he would not accept a nomination as a candidate for the speakership.

The race for a new Speaker of the House is on

The decision by Rep. McCarthy does not make the situation much easier.

With such a slim majority in the House, getting the magic number of 218 could take time, with very few potential candidates holding such high levels of support within the GOP caucus.

Democrats have made clear that their candidate is House Minority Leader Hawkeem Jefferies and that, at this point, they would not vote for a Republican to help them get over the finish line. Five GOP votes would be needed to get Rep. Jefferies elected.

What are the responsibilities of the Speaker of the House?

The duties of the Speaker are outlined in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

US Constitution, Article I, Section 2

In reality, the country’s founding document says very little about the job of the Speaker, aside from their role in bringing forward articles of impeachment. Rep. McCarthy had placated the rightwing of his party by bringing forward articles against Presidnet Joe Biden, but this action was not enough to keep these caucus members pleased.

The House rules contain a better description of the duties of the Speaker. In addition to administering the oath of office for representatives, the Speaker is also tasked with organizing travel for members, committees, or delegations related to House business and assigning or removing representatives from committees. The Speaker also signs bills passed by the House and is responsible for preserving order in the Chamber.

How much does the Speaker of the House make?

Senators and Representatives make $174,000 a year. Leaders in both chambers make a bit more, with the Speaker of the House earning an annual salary of $223,500. This salary is greater than that given to the Senate Majority Leader, who earns $193,400.

The role of Speaker pro tempore

Currently, Rep. Patrick Henry is serving as the Speaker pro tempore and will do so until an election is held. Following House rules, until the election is held, “the Member acting as Speaker pro temper may exercise such authorities of the Office of the Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate to that end.”

Can laws be passed without an elected Speaker?

Yes. Since Rep. McHenry took over in the middle of the congressional session, bills will likely be able to be passed. Back in January, when it took fifteen rounds of voting to get Rep. McCarthy elected, no bills could be passed because the election of the Speaker marked the beginning of the legislative session.