It took 15 separate votes for Kevin McCarthy to become House Speaker McCarthy. Why? It’s not too complicated, but it was a battle. McCarthy had the support of 90% of Republicans, but about 20 members refused to vote for him, so concessions had to be made. It came down to the wire early on Saturday morning as 6 dissenting members voted “present” instead of “yea,” so the threshold of votes was lowered to 216 and that sealed the deal.
The bullet we dodged? Democrat Hakeem Jeffries- a far, far leftist representative, had 212 votes. Had Republicans been unable to elect a speaker, we could have ended up with someone far worse than Pelosi. Jeffries was voted as the Minority leader of the Democrats. Be prepared for more radical ideas and rhetoric.
What were the concessions?
House Speaker McCarthy had to navigate the Freedom Caucus. That was no easy task. And yes, after working to get the votes he needed, there were still those 6 holdouts who voted “present.” But he made numerous concessions in order to obtain the votes that made him the 55th Speaker of the US House of Representatives. The rules that he agreed to will be voted on January 9th – if they pass, and there is by no means a consensus on that, Republicans will have a strong hold on the way the House is run…and a tighter rein on legislation and spending.
The draft rules package for the 118th Congress contains some of the folllowing:
The Jeffersonian Motion: This means that one person can make a motion to remove the Speaker if they go back on their word or the policy agenda that put them in power. It effectively would neuter Kevin McCarthy from running the House like authoritarian Nancy Pelosi did for years by requiring a full 218 votes to retain him. Since it took 15 votes on the floor to give him the gavel, getting the full 218 would be virtually impossible.
The FBI: A committee will be formed to look into the weaponization of the FBI.
Term limits will be brought up for a vote.
Bills can no longer be “omnibus” with all the earmarks attendant to a huge bill. They must have a single focus. They also must give Congress 72 hours to actually read it – no more “pass it and then read it” as Pelosi was fond of doing.
The final end of all Covid funding as well as all mandates and the emergency order that caused it.
The Gephardt Rule: Budget bills must stop the endless raising of the debt ceiling and begin to hold the Senate accountable for their increases.
This would prohibit the consideration of legislation that increases mandatory spending within a five-year or ten-year budget window.
The draft rules package also repeals the so-called “Gephardt Rule,” setting up a separate vote on the debt limit. Currently, with the rule in place, the House automatically sends a joint resolution to raise the debt ceiling when the House adopts a budget package, with the change giving conservatives more scope to push for reduced spending.
Border security: “The Texas Border Plan will be put before Congress. From The Hill: “The four-pronged plan aims to ‘Complete Physical Border Infrastructure,’ ‘Fix Border Enforcement Policies,’ ‘Enforce our Laws in the Interior’ and ‘Target Cartels & Criminal Organizations.’” The Epoch Times
Allowing the Freedom Caucus more seats on the House Rules Committee.
All in all, it was a fight to change the ‘same ol’ situation that has run Congress for decades. Conservatives who opposed McCarthy still oppose him, but the concessions should give avenues to stop him from being a RINO in any given situation. Hopefully the package of rules will pass on January 9. If not, all bets are off. For now, House Speaker McCarthy has the gavel.
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