Republicans Attempt to Govern After Being Elected House Speaker
Most likely, picking the House Speaker was the easiest part. Republicans want to look into Biden, cut federal spending, and make China more of a competitor, but first they need to show that they can run the country.
When Democrats took over in 2019 and Nancy Pelosi was Speaker, she got rid of the rule because conservatives saw it as a threat to previous Republican speakers. “The change has really helped us trust each other and learn how to work together.”
As McCarthy opened the House as the new speaker on Monday, Republicans started debating the rules package. This was a hard-fought, 55-page document that McCarthy worked out with conservative holdouts to get their votes to make him House speaker.
The conservative Freedom Caucus asked for a part of the package that brings back an old rule that lets any lawmaker make a motion to “vacate the chair,” which is a vote to get rid of the speaker. McCarthy fought for four days and 14 failed votes to get the speaker’s gavel.
Other changes that the conservatives got from McCarthy weaken the office of the speaker and give rank-and-file lawmakers, especially those on the far right who got concessions, more control over how the legislature works.
Republicans are letting more Freedom Caucus members join the Rules Committee, which sets the rules for debate in the legislature.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said of the GOP’s so-called “Holman Rule,” which would let Congress take away the pay of individual federal workers, “This is no way to run the government.”
McCarthy’s Republican majority is only 222 seats, so he can only lose four GOP opponents on any given vote. If all Democrats vote no, the bill will fail. These members say that debates will be more open and free-flowing, and they want 72 hours to read bills before voting on them.
But it’s still not clear if the changes will make the House more open about how it works or if they will slow it down like they did last week when McCarthy had to fight for four days and 14 failed votes to become speaker.
Many Republicans defended the standoff over the speaker’s gavel, which was settled by the smallest of margins in the early hours of Saturday morning. It was one of the longest speaker’s race showdowns in U.S. history.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said on CNN over the weekend, “A little temporary conflict is needed in this town to stop this town from rolling over the American people.” Roy praised the new rules on Monday, saying that he could file a motion “right now” to force a vote on the speaker, as has been done in the past.
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But before Monday night’s vote on the rules package, at least two other Republicans voiced concerns about McCarthy’s backroom deals. This raised the question of whether there would be enough GOP support for passage, since all Democrats are expected to vote no.
On Monday, a group of Republican and Democratic senators went to the southern U.S. border with Mexico to work on a plan to make it harder for people to come to the U.S. On the other hand, a divided Congress often leads to a standstill.
Republicans have been in this situation before, when the Tea Party took control of the House in 2011. They got rid of Nancy Pelosi as speaker and started a new era of tough politics that shut down the government and threatened to default on the federal debt.
McCarthy was a key figure in these fights because, as the House Republican campaign chairman, he was in charge of getting the tea party generation to work for the party.