Dynamics of House take shape after speaker’s election

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to Speaker of the House was historically slow in coming, but now that the lower chamber has its top official in place, the rest of the governing body’s work has begun to creep forward. 

“Now the hard work begins,” McCarthy said upon gaining the gavel. “What we do here today, next week, next month, next year, will set the tone for everything that follows.”

The next big step for the Republican-controlled House will be twofold – populating the dozens upon dozens of committees and subcommittees of which the chamber consists and determining which bills to consider first. 

McCarthy has already provided an answer to the latter. The first target of Republicans will be the vast expansion of the IRS that President Joe Biden, Democrats, and a small collection of Senate Republicans approved under the Inflation Reduction Act. 

“I know the night is late, but when we come back our very first bill will repeal the funding for 87,000 new IRS agents,” McCarthy said to thunderous applause from his fellow Republicans. “You see, we believe government should be to help you, not go after you.”

As to committees, that work will be a bit longer in coming. Committee chairs and ranking members have already been selected, but it remains which rank-and-file members land on which committees. 

Arguably the most important committee in the House, at least in terms of Republicans’ plans, is the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. As of this writing, only Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) appear on the committee website. 

“Congratulations to our new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy,” Comer tweeted. “I was honored to nominate him today. Oversight of our tax dollars and Accountability of unelected bureaucrats begins now.”

Republicans are expected to launch numerous investigations into the Biden administration and to address what conservatives view as a federal government that has grown too large and intrusive. 

It will be a matter of much interest to see what, if anything, is the fallout for the Republicans who held out on approving McCarthy. 

Previous reports have suggested some within the pro-McCarthy camp want to deny committee membership to those who caused McCarthy to fail to achieve enough votes to become speaker over 14 rounds. He was elected on the 15th ballot. 

House leadership of the two parties has already become official. 

With McCarthy now serving as speaker, the new House majority leader will be Steve Scalise of Louisiana. The majority whip will be Tom Emmer of Minnesota and the conference chair Elise Stefanik of New York. 

For Democrats, the minority leader will be Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the first racial minority to serve as the head of either party. 

Rep Katherine Clark of Massachusetts became the new minority whip, the most prominent ranking for any woman in the House. The caucus chair is Pete Aguilar of California. 

The work of the House will resume at 5 p.m. EST on Monday, when the lower chamber returns from adjournment. 


It will be a House of Representatives replete with historical firsts. 

As of Saturday morning, following the swearing-in of Vermont Democrat Becca Balint, every state in the union has elected at least one woman to Congress. Also on Saturday, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) became the longest-serving woman in Congress and the Congress itself boasted an all-time high of 153 women. 

Although not a statistic anyone officially tracks, the new Congress also holds the title for most unique swearing-in. 

Rep. Robert Garcia, a California Democrat, took his oath of office on the first issue of Superman, which was placed beneath the U.S. Constitution along with a picture of Garcia’s parents and his citizenship certificate. 

The comic, which is incredibly valuable and rare, is the property of the Library of Congress. 

“I came to America at the age of 5 as a Spanish speaker,” CNN quoted Garcia as saying.“As a kid, I would pick up comics at old thrift shops and pharmacies, and that’s how I learned to read and write in English.” 

He added, “{Superman represents] truth and justice, an immigrant that was different, was raised by good people that welcomed them. If you look at Superman values, and caucus values, it’s about justice, it’s about honesty, it’s doing the right thing, standing up for people that need support.”

Garcia’s decision, no doubt well-meaning, was nonetheless an example of the slow march away from Christianity in politics. 

Legally speaking, there is nothing inappropriate about avoiding the Bible during a swearing-in, but it is a stark statement as to where God falls in a nation’s or politician’s priorities when the Word loses prominence.