McCarthy’s Republican detractors lay out demands

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Seven members of the House Freedom Caucus, sufficient in strength to potentially block rising House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from becoming Speaker of the House, have indicated they might yet be willing to back their colleague if he is willing to acquiesce to a series of requests. 

Emily Brooks of The Hill reported last week that the congressmen – Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Chip Roy of Texas, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andrew Clyde of Georgia,  and Paul Gosar of Arizona as well as soon-to-be-sworn-in Reps. Eli Crane of Arizona and Andy Ogles of Tennessee – had penned a letter in which they list eight concepts with which they feel a potential speaker should agree. 

“As we form the 118th Congress, any GOP Speaker candidate must make clear he or she will advance rules, policies, and an organizational structure that will result in the values listed below,” the letter reads. “The House of Representatives serves as the people’s voice in our system of government and it requires leadership to unleash its full power to check the Executive Branch, push the Senate to act, and responsibly exercise its strongest tool — the power of the purse.”

The congressmen and congressmen-elect say they want: 

  • to restore representatives’ ability to move that the speaker’s chair be vacated, which would require a vote on removing a speaker;
  • a 72-hour rest period from the time a bill is released to when the House votes;
  • a prohibition on leaders’ PACs being involved in primaries; 
  • an increase of Freedom Caucus members on committees;
  • a commitment to cap spending and balance the budget, even if this means refusing to  raise the debt ceiling; 
  • a general commitment to avoid earmark spending; 
  • a commitment to using annual “must-pass” bills (for example, the defense spending bill) as leverage against the Biden administration; 
  • to create a panel that will oversee investigations into governmental overreach

Importantly, the letter does not mention McCarthy specifically, although his connection to the communique is obvious.

Were McCarthy to not receive the necessary votes to become speaker, it stands to reason that these demands would apply to other candidates as well. 

“[The] items presented are simply what I expect and require for anyone seeking the responsibility of serving as Speaker — as accountability of the Speaker to the membership is paramount,” Clyde wrote in a separate statement.

But some of these are tall orders. While most Republicans will have no problem agreeing to bring Biden administration officials before hearings or to force Biden to make concessions, it is far less likely that a would-be speaker will be eager to allow himself to be quite so easily fired.

Still, this might be the cost of doing business. 

McCarthy needs votes. At present, at least 12 Republicans have voiced opposition to or concerns about his speakership, the seven signatories plus Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Matt Rosendale of Montana, and Bob Good of Virginia.