After years of government-run amuck, Congress is operating in a more structured and transparent way that gives the American people more of a voice. Last week, the media tried to paint the vote for Speaker in a negative light making it seem that Republicans were unable to govern. This wasn’t the case at all. Twenty Republicans strategically fought to end the unyielding power of a few and replace it with more of a collaborative and deliberative process that all Members can take part in.
The American people won on many levels last week. First, we all got a lesson on how voting for the Speaker works. Out of 435 Congressmen, 218 votes are needed to elect someone to that role. The total votes needed could be lower if fewer members voted or voted “present.” Surprisingly, a person does not have to be a Member of Congress to be nominated for or assume the position. That was evidenced by Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) nomination of former President Donald Trump. However, throughout history, a non-sitting Member has never received enough votes to become Speaker of the House.
Second, we all were able to watch the debate and negotiations unfold. Not only were media cameras allowed to show all angles of the floor (which is typically restricted by the Rules of the House to only the official House camera), but we were privy to the requests of the twenty conservatives. A letter drafted by some of the conservatives laid out their priorities for good governance. Topics included Congressional spending, Committee assignments, how business in the House should be conducted, and Leadership’s role in House races. These principles reminded us that good policy is crafted only when the power of the elites in government is reigned in and the American people are able to have more information on what is happening in the Capitol.
Many of the concessions that Speaker McCarthy made were based on this letter. He agreed to vote on the twelve appropriation bills separately instead of as a massive omnibus, to cap discretionary spending, and to give the House the ability to reduce government officials’ salaries. In order to create transparency in the bill process, members will now have 72 hours to read and debate a bill before voting. Additionally, McCarthy has agreed to keep the Congressional Leadership Fund out of open primary races. This would keep political money out of these races until the people of that district had a voice in who should advance to the general election. Finally, the Speaker has reopened the House Office Buildings and House side of the Capitol to constituents – We the People! Citizens will no longer need to be escorted by Congressional staff in order to enter the People’s House.
After fifteen rounds of voting, six conservatives agreed to vote “present” which lowered the threshold of votes needed to secure the Speakership to 216. McCarthy became Speaker of the House; all Members were finally sworn in, and the GOP-controlled House began voting on good policy issues. On Monday, the House passed the rules package that contained many of the concessions for which the Twenty had held out. Later in the week, they passed a resolution (H.Res. 12) to create a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 26), and a resolution (H.Con.Res. 3) to condemn the violence against pro-life institutions.
Republicans were able to make tremendous changes in the way that the House of Representatives is run during their first week as the majority in the House. The twenty conservatives demanded necessary changes and won. Not only do their districts reap these benefits, but every American will profit from a system in which amendments are allowed to come to a vote, big omnibus bills are frowned upon, and Committees are set up to conduct real oversight of the Biden Administration. Eagle Forum applauds the brave and fearless Congressmen who held the line.