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Congressman files motion to strip John Boehner of speakership

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U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A conservative North Carolina congressman began an effort early Tuesday evening to challenge House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership.

Rep. Mark Meadows, who was among the group of House Republicans who voted against re-electing Boehner in January, filed a “motion to vacate the chair,” which would strip Boehner of his leadership post, if successful.

But a majority of the House would need to back the motion. Because Meadows didn’t file it as a “privileged” resolution, it does not automatically get a vote but is referred to the Rules committee, a panel stacked with Boehner allies.

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions learned about the resolution from reporters, and said he is still getting the details on it.

Leadership aides on both sides of the aisle were stunned by Meadows’ move.

One Boehner ally, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, tried to downplay to reporters.

“I just think it is a fundraising tool,” he said.

But members and staff were already scrambling to figure out what’s next as the move caught the House off guard.

Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, another opponent of Boehner who had not heard about Meadows’ plans, said he would back the motion.

“I would absolutely vote for it,” he said, adding this could be the first of many efforts.