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McCarthy Concessions Will Shake up U.S. House

Government

House Republican Kevin McCarthy | Image by The Independent

Late Friday evening, Kevin McCarthy was elected as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 15th round of voting, bringing a grueling week of negotiations with critics in his own party to a close.

While a total of 21 Republicans had voted against McCarthy throughout the week, the California congressman had pared that number down to six by the 13th ballot. On the 15th, all six voted “present,” lowering the threshold for victory and pushing McCarthy over the finish line.

The eleventh-hour concessions McCarthy made to the conservative holdouts could transform the way the House operates as the 118th Congress begins its work next week.

The splashiest detail of the stalemate-breaking framework was a promise to place three members of the party’s conservative wing on the powerful House Rules Committee. The committee, nicknamed the “traffic cop of Congress,” controls the rules under which bills are introduced to the floor and controls the flow of legislation through the body.

Given the Republican Party’s narrow majority, these three seats would give the conservative Republicans substantial leverage over the legislative process, with the option to deadlock business before it even reaches the House floor.

On the subject of committees, McCarthy has also agreed to field a Judiciary subcommittee specially empowered to investigate alleged abuses of power by the federal government, modeled on the Church Committee of the 1970s. The push for a latter-day Church Committee was spearheaded by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), who called the compromise “a victory for the Constitutional rights of all Americans.”

In an interview with The Dallas Express, Wade Miller, executive director of Citizens for Renewing America, explained the subject of the proposed Bishop Committee’s investigations as “domestic intelligence abuses against the American people.”

Miller explained the work ahead as “oversight on steroids,” given that the subcommittee’s narrow focus will mean its members “can really dig in” and “actually put a case together.” A Bishop Committee would be able to investigate any abuse of power or “weaponization of the federal government,” as Bishop himself put it, against American citizens. This mandate would cover virtually any agency, ranging from the FBI to the Department of Education. 

As with the original Church Committee, one potentially powerful tool for a Bishop Committee could be unilateral declassification, without the consent of the executive branch.

Another key area on which McCarthy compromised was budget and appropriations. In a nod back to the fiscally conservative roots of the House Freedom Caucus — many of whose members led the resistance to McCarthy’s speakership — the holdouts forced the new speaker to commit to appropriations at FY22 levels. Among other cuts, this plank will require substantial reconsideration of ballooning defense spending.

McCarthy has also agreed to block any increase in the debt ceiling — a subject that will come up later this year — unless Democrats meet Republican demands on discretionary spending. This concession is likely to force hardball negotiations when the debt ceiling conversation rolls around.

Other tenets of the negotiated framework likely to reignite House debate include a shift away from omnibus spending to individual appropriations bills and the reinstitution of a 72-hour waiting period before voting on a bill after its introduction. This latter provision in particular will give members more time to read through proposed legislation, as well as to draft and introduce amendments.

Miller notes that, on both sides of the aisle, this will open up opportunities for “simple fixes that would make a bill better.”

The crowning achievement of the conservative Republicans, however, will allow any one member to introduce a “motion to vacate,” effectively initiating a no-confidence vote in McCarthy and potentially ousting him from the speakership.

Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who emerged as the leader of the anti-McCarthy forces over the course of the week, touted the negotiated rules package as “exquisite” on Saturday.

While “from a rhetorical perspective” the speakership is “still very strong,” according to Miller, the compromise McCarthy reached to secure the office amounts to a massive transfer of power back to rank-and-file members — both Republican and Democrat. This could mean not just a weaker speakership but a loosened party grip over representatives and much more lively debate between and within parties.

“The entire way that the House floor is going to operate is going to be entirely transformational,” Miller said.

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V63
V63
30 days ago

In other words, uber-gridlock. How nice for US!

Robbie
Robbie
30 days ago

I believe I will welcome “uber gridlock” as opposed to the harridan, PEElose, rules = Absolutely NO debate but “let’s see how much money we can make ourselves and the nation and people be damned.”

DFW Citizen
DFW Citizen
30 days ago

Glad to see McCarthy make those concessions.

Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
30 days ago

The Bishop Committee might be good if it doesn’t run loose like a rabid dog, chasing useless conspiracy theories; attacking delusions of scandal and persecution, and tearing our systems apart from limb-to-limb using dysfunctional Trumpian tactics.

Wrath
Wrath
Reply to  Ronald Reason
30 days ago

The “woke mafia” should worry.

Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
Reply to  Wrath
30 days ago

Trumpian Tactic #1 – Insults

Scooterville
Scooterville
Reply to  Ronald Reason
30 days ago

“conspiracy theories”

FBI fed Russian collusion hoax.
FBI failing to investigate ongoing serial abuser Dr Larry Nassar.
Ex-FBI head Mueller lying to congress that fraudulent Steele Dossier wasn’t the basis for his investigation.
FBI head James Comey 245 times claimed he “could not remember,” “could not recall,” or “did not know” when asked about his own involvement with the Russian collusion hoax.
OIG report indicating Comey successor Mccabe lied on “several occasions” as part of IG investigation.
FBI ruining the life of Carter Page with false allegations of criminal conduct and swearing on those lies to an ex-parte FISA Court.
FBI surveiling school board meeting parents based upon National School Boards Association allegations that parents were veritable terrorists.
FBI staging the psychodramatic Mar-a-Lago raid on an ex-president’s home based upon lies that the seized documents contained “nuclear secrets”.
FBI publicly arresting John Eastman and James O’Keefe in order to confiscate electronic communications for which neither have been formally charged.
Comey, improperly acting as a de facto federal prosecutor, deciding that such Hillary Clinton’s wholesale concealment and destruction of classified material did not merit prosecution.
FBI hiring of disgraced Steele dossier author Christopher Steele.
FBI’s admitting it would not have obtained warrants to surveil Trump campaign associates without Steele’s dossier, which it also admitted it either knew was a fraud or could not corroborate.
FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altering a court-submitted document to feign incriminatory information.
FBI ambushing General Flynn on an alleged violation of the Logan Act, a 223-year old-law that has led to only two indictments and zero convictions.
FBI suppressing knowledge of its one year possession of Hunter Biden’s easily verifiable wholly incriminating laptop.
FBI contracting out Twitter ($3.5 million) to suppress social media traffic about the laptop and speech the FBI deemed “improper”.
FBI remaining mum when 51 former “intelligence officials” misled the country by claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop was “Russian disinformation.”
FBI phones of agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page, along with members of Robert Mueller’s special counsel team —all under subpoena— had their data mysteriously wiped clean, purportedly “by accident.”
“There were a ton of FBI informants among the people who attacked the Capitol” According to the NYTimes reporter most acquainted with the January 6 riot, Matthew Rosenberg.

Lying under oath, uncooperative with congressional overseers, altering court documents, deceiving courts in order to conduct illegal surveillance, illegal media leaks, paying social media corporations to warp news and suppress free expression, hiring a foreign national to gather dirt on a presidential candidate, destroying subpoenaed evidence.

Do you want me to continue?

Plenty of meat on the bone, pal.

Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
Reply to  Scooterville
28 days ago

No agency is perfect; and a one-sided list of complaints about ancient stories patched together with distorted information from right-wing commentary websites is not meat on the bone; it’s picking the bone, pal.

Keepin it real!
Keepin it real!
Reply to  Ronald Reason
29 days ago

“The Bishop Committee” and others like it are the legislative tactic the minority often uses when they can’t win elections, but refuse to get with the program and actually adopt policies that win at the ballot box. HEADLINE: The FBI investigates right wing terrorism… HOUSE REPULBICANS: Let’s form a committee to investigate the FBI for doing their job.

Janet
Janet
Reply to  Ronald Reason
29 days ago

I will put it this way. The Clown car has gone off the cliff. Unfortunately, the driver let the car run out of gas, and it didn’t explode on impact. There are survivors. They are armed and dangerous. Fortunately, they are surrounded by good and decent people. Some that were formerly in the Clown car, and all that are on the other side of the aisle to make sure they stay in the ditch.

What we saw last week was what has been obvious to anyone willing to be honest with themselves and really believes in government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people. The Re”bum”licans on the right side of the aisle believe in “my way or the highway” and are willing to take control by any means necessary to benefit the wishes of a few, while those on the left side of the aisle exemplified and showed the world what is truly meant by “E PLURIBUS UNUM!”

But for now, the inmates have taken over the asylum! Lock the doors hide the kids, and prepare for battle. I hope democracy can survive.

Wrath
Wrath
30 days ago

It will not be “turnabout is fair play”…it will be “ you broke the law, you will pay”. Look at the FBI article in the Dallas Express.

Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
Reply to  Wrath
30 days ago

Trumpian Tactic #2 – Fake News

Bill Fox
Bill Fox
30 days ago

McCarthy is weak. Gave up everything, gained nothing all for the sake of power itself. He can be vetoed at any time.

It shows how much the GOP has pandered to the trailer trash, meth smoking conspiracy theorists. They need their votes. Thanks Drumpf. I like the old GOP that catered to rich white dudes. You knew what you were getting. This new fringe is a win for democrats, as it splits the GOP votes and really divided the base. It’s a shortsighted victory.

CITIZEN
CITIZEN
29 days ago

Said it before, saying it again. Why so much negativity about McCarthy? Remember we live, at least most of us, by the sacred rule: “Innocent until proven guilty”. As an independent voter I am willing to let McCarthy either prove himself to be for the people or hang himself by proving otherwise.

Anna
Anna
29 days ago

I didn’t see anything about term limits! I’m still embarrassed by the disgusting voting so many times. The Republicans need to show a togetherness front, instead so many votes that show a divided GOP party. Change is needed but for the good of the party and We the People! Get rid of the RINOS and engage TERM LIMITS on every Congressman.