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Editor’s Commentary: It is imperative for the fate of the nation that the Republicans holding out against Kevin McCarthy continue to do so and a different candidate emerges. Andy Biggs would be an ideal choice among those being considered. Steve Scalise would be more acceptable than McCarthy.
McCarthy represents a continuation of the Uniparty Swamp’s control over Capitol Hill. He had opportunities in recent months to demonstrate leadership that goes beyond being the RINO side of the Swamp’s coin, but instead he tipped his hat to the Establishment and promised business as usual. At the 11th hour he has made a handful of concessions to give the holdouts justification to save face while Establishment shills pressured them.
The Speaker of the House is the 2nd most powerful elected official in Washington DC, just behind the President. The Uniparty Swamp has controlled the position for decades and our country has suffered as a result. The rare opportunity to break the cycle is being presented to the House. Let’s pray that Republicans step up and do what’s best for our nation. Kevin McCarthy ain’t it. Here’s Mark Tapscott and Madalina Vasiliu from The Epoch Times with the details…
WASHINGTON—Chaos walked into the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday and made itself home as members of the new Republican majority rejected House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker, but then failed to settle on an alternative candidate.
In the first vote of a tumultuous first day of the 118th Congress, McCarthy, the California Republican who led the party to regain the majority in the November 2022 mid-term election, fell 15 votes short of the 218 he needed to become Speaker of the House.
McCarthy received 202 votes from Republican colleagues, while 211 Democrats voted for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who will serve as House Minority Leader in 2023. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz), the leader of the anti-McCarthy members, received 10 votes. A handful of Republicans voted for candidates who were not nominated.
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That vote capped a frenzied two days of back-room bargaining and media posturing by McCarthy and his supporters and a small group of dissident populist conservatives who demanded and got a host of reform concessions, but still voted no on the first ballot.
The bottom line for the dissidents was they just don’t trust McCarthy to be the agent of change they believe must lead the House in what they are determined to make the last two years of President Joe Biden’s tenure in the White House.
“I came to a broken and dysfunctional Congress to change it. Advancing the long-standing pecking order one notch has no prospect of doing that. Many don’t want to change it,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-North Carolina) posted on Twitter just before the first vote.
“Kevin McCarthy is not the right candidate to be Speaker. He has perpetuated the Washington status quo that makes this body one of the most unsuccessful and unpopular institutions in the country. This is not about personality or who has ‘earned’ the position, it is about serving the American people. I will not support the status quo,” Bishop continued.
In the final minutes before the new House assembled for the speaker contest, a clearly exasperated and frustrated McCarthy told reporters: “I have the record for the longest speech ever on the floor. I don’t have a problem getting a record for the most votes for Speaker, too.”
He was referring to his more than 90-minute December address to the House in opposition to Biden’s $1.8 trillion omnibus spending bill.
With Republicans expecting early in 2022 to benefit from a giant “Red Wave” that would decisively carry them back into the majority in the November mid-term election, bargaining between McCarthy and members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), the lead element of the conservative rebellion, began in July.
The HFC, headed by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) published a lengthy set of proposed changes in the House rules, which determine how legislation is written, debated, and voted on for final passage or defeat.
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At the center of those proposals was one to restore the “motion to vacate the chair,” a rule that enabled one member of the House to move for a new vote on the speaker. That motion had been part of the House Rules since its first session in 1789.
But when Democrats regained the House majority in 2018 and elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the speaker, the motion was dropped. That move epitomized a trend that began several decades ago of concentrating power in the speaker and his or her chosen House leaders.
The HFC dissidents demanded the motion be restored as the prerequisite to multiple reforms they claimed were necessary to return the House to its status as the most direct voice of the people.
McCarthy initially opposed restoration of the motion to vacate, but in the final days before Tuesday’s drama, he offered to compromise by requiring at least four co-sponsors to back an initial motion.
He also agreed in the final days before the vote to support restoring the Holman Rule, a legislative procedure under which the House can defund the salary and benefits of a particular civil servant in the executive branch.
The Holman rule was first instituted in the 1870s and was used sparingly thereafter, mainly to remove civil servants who balked at carrying out congressional directions on programs and policy.
The HFC dissidents viewed restoring the Holman Rule as vital to their ability to force change in the Biden administration’s radically liberal management of the federal bureaucracy.
On Monday, as the final hours ticked away, McCarthy had made multiple concessions to the dissidents, but the final negotiations turned bitter as five members of the informally named “Never Kevin” caucus—including Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Goode of Virginia, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Matt Rosendale of Montana—continued to demand more concessions.
By the time the House assembled for the first time as part of the 118th Congress, it appeared there was no more compromising possible.
Rosendale issued a statement saying “Members of the House Freedom Caucus presented Kevin McCarthy with proposed rule changes months before the election. The changes needed in Congress go beyond the Motion to Vacate. Serious reforms are required to restore the House to regular order.
“McCarthy had multiple opportunities to demonstrate leadership abilities and advocate for conservative policies. He had leverage to advance common-sense reforms during the CR, NDAA, & infrastructure legislation. He had early opportunity to address the rules and chose not to do so.
“Now, it’s disingenuous and not reliable to believe that his proposed changes would ever be implemented. We need a Republican Speaker who will challenge the status quo and ensure that every member has a voice.”
With this first failure, the House begins a struggle not previously seen since 1923 when nine ballots were needed to settle on a new speaker. A second ballot will be taken later this afternoon.
Article cross-posted from The Epoch Times.