News: America’s New Speaker of the House
Contested Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California elected as Republican Party leader
After 15 roll call votes in four days, House Republicans chose to elect California Congressman Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, giving the Grand Old Party (GOP) an opportunity to reverse the Democrats’ historic expansion of the welfare, military and surveillance state within hours of his election.
Certain “Republicans, for example,” reported the Washington Post, which wrongly identified (later correcting) the new House of Representatives leader Kevin McCarthy as a Democrat, “have already expressed skepticism about reauthorizing … Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA], which expires later this year.” Of course, the Post padded the story with language that made ending the FISA’s unchecked authoritarianism seem like a dire threat to civilization.
Autonomia is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
That ending the arguably unconstitutional FISA—a surveillance state advancement enacted by Congress and George W. Bush after Black Tuesday—is under an imagined or projected legislative knife indicates the potential good of GOP control of Congress. There are other advantages to selecting McCarthy as second in line to become president of the United States. This article examines his election as speaker—replacing California Congresswoman Pelosi, who lost power when Republicans were elected to a 10-vote majority in the House of Representatives—based on various reports. First, the story of McCarthy’s election. Second, the potential disadvantages. Third, the advantages. A conclusion caps the article.
Facts and Context
Despite McCarthy’s contested election being reported as an aberration, malfunction or disruption of basic governance—Associated Press (AP) reported McCarthy’s election as “epic” but it’s merely unusual (the longest process since 1859)—the four-day process was a byproduct of mixed mid-term elections.
Republicans did not gain as many seats in the House as were generally projected, probably due to voter backlash concerning the Supreme Court striking down the dubious Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973, which legalized abortion. GOP leader Donald Trump made this point, though Trump is not alone in making the judgment.
Democrats overdramatized the Republicans’ procedural debate. “Our general concern is that the dysfunction—that was historic—that we saw this week is not at an end, it’s just the beginning,” said leading House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Joe Biden promptly dismissed Republican demands to cut spending in return for increasing America’s $32 trillion debt. The Wall Street Journal reports that McCarthy ceded several points to the Republican holdouts, including how Congress functions, noting that certain concessions are not publicly known and may not be disclosed.
The compromise resulting in McCarthy’s election as speaker of the House is not philosophically consistent, let alone pro-individual rights. The 20 legislators that held out for a few days on certain issues and demands are not principally pro-reason, pro-rights and pro-capitalism. As a small band in Congress, they represent a contingent, not a cultural trend or a grass-roots movement, such as the Tea Party movement that sprang into action against the Bush/Obama economic statism of 2008.
As The Guardian reported, the new House majority passed a bill to impose new penalties on doctors that refuse to treat a viable fetus following an unsuccessful abortion. Certain conservatives demand even more prohibitive anti-abortion bills. The House’s new oversight committee chairman, James Comer, once co-sponsored an abortion ban which could imprison doctors.
Other pitfalls of this arrangement between the holdouts and establishmentarian Kevin McCarthy—a status quo type conservative, whom Trump endorsed despite McCarthy’s past criticism of Trump’s presidency—include accelerating the rise and power of the GOP’s worst, which is to say most power-lusting, statists.
The advantages, however weak and conditional, of Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House under this agreement—to the extent it is known—are clear and distinct by the standard of advancing government adherence to America’s founding ideals.
Among the better reported deal points affecting you and U.S. government:
The GOP majority now requires 72 hours to allow a member to read any bill. Imagine legislators reading legislation, unlike the ObamaCare of 2010, a total nationalization of health insurance which Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, McCarthy’s predecessor as speaker of the House, infamously and defensively proclaimed: “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” Of course, the New York Times slanted this, equivocating about congressional sloth and making the requirement that members get time to read bills seem like a burden: “Congress doesn’t like [sic] to spend that kind of time legislating anymore. At best, lawmakers are in town three or four days a week, and much of that period is spent away from the floor on fundraising and other political activities. The idea of devoting hour after hour to slogging through amendments is anathema to many.”
Speaker McCarthy pledged: “We will end wasteful Washington spending,” in his victory speech. In a nation with $32 trillion in debt, spending cuts are vital. Republicans pledged to pair spending cuts with any debt-ceiling increase, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to Politico, the House GOP plans to propose a balanced budget within 10 years, capping discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels or lower.
Investigation of Biden’s disastrous U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Investigation of Chinese coronavirus (COVID-19) origins, subsequent government subsidization—including how trillions of dollars in “relief aid” was really spent—and how closing government schools affected students.
Investigation of Hunter Biden following the New York Post’s 2020 report about the president’s adult son’s Ukrainian and any other foreign deals—deals which may implicate the president’s entire family, thus putting national security at risk.
Investigation of the technology industry’s (Facebook owner Meta, Google, Apple, pre-Elon Musk owned Twitter) complicity with the U.S. government, i.e. Congress and Biden’s administration, to succumb to state pressure to suppress and/or censor Americans based upon their ideas, thoughts and views. During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said: “We have a duty to get into these agencies and look at how they have been weaponized to go against the very people they are supposed to represent, how they have infringed on First Amendment liberties of the American people. And we’re going to do that.”
Investigation of the FBI’s 2022 raid on Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private property, purportedly in search of classified documents Trump kept there after leaving the White House.
Investigation of the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol; specifically, the House select committee’s conduct examining Trump’s role in the riot and facts behind the committee’s conclusions. Republicans want to focus on why the Capitol was not successfully defended and specific details of the Capitol’s deadly defense.
Cancellation of Biden’s expansion of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The first legislation House Republicans passed cancels Biden’s recently enacted scheme to add 87,000 IRS agents. Republicans proposed funding taxpayer services and tech information while revoking new funding to audit Americans and increase the size of the IRS.
The Wall Street Journal reports that leader McCarthy promised fellow Republicans he’ll bring U.S. border security and a term-limit requirement for members of Congress up for a vote.
Restoration of a procedure (removed in 2019 by Pelosi and the Democrats) permitting rank-and-file members of the House to motion for a vote to remove the speaker of the House. Before Democrats eliminated the House rule, individual members retained the right to motion for a vote. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) resigned as speaker in 2015 when someone motioned for a vote to remove him as Speaker. The Journal reports that “McCarthy initially offered to restore the motion so that it would take five lawmakers to call for a speaker’s removal. As the week went on and he struggled to amass the votes he needed to win the top job, Mr. McCarthy agreed to a change in House rules allowing any single member to call for such a vote.” In practice, the newspaper reports, “the possibility that a small group of unhappy Republicans could depose Mr. McCarthy will be in the background of every consequential decision he makes.” This can be a sign of potential progress because establishment Republican leaders such as McCarthy have been ineffectual in stopping or slowing the spread of statism. The motion rule means that any of the 435 members of the House of Representatives can force a vote on whether to remove McCarthy from the office at any time.
The Wall Street Journal also found that House conservatives skeptical of McCarthy pushed “for the House to take up one-by-one on the chamber floor the 12 annual appropriations bills that together fund the government, and he has pledged to give lawmakers plenty of time and leeway to offer amendments. This deviates from how both parties in Congress handled spending bills in recent years.” The new practice is a sign that the status quo—funding government with omnibus measures combining appropriations bills—could be seriously challenged.
Republicans holding McCarthy accountable gained an agreement to pass a bill averting shutdown if Congress hasn’t passed appropriations bills by the funding deadline, through enactment of a continuing resolution which cuts spending.
As promised, McCarthy stripped California Congressmen Eric Swalwell, who was compromised by a Communist Chinese spy, and Adam Schiff, who distorted and/or lied about the extent of former President Trump’s ties to Russia, from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. About Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and one of three Moslem members of Congress, who attacks Israel and pro-Israel Americans, McCarthy pledged: “Last year, I promised that when I became Speaker, I would remove [her from the Foreign Affairs Committee] based on her repeated anti-[Jewish and anti-Israel] and anti-American remarks…I’m keeping that promise.”
Challenging U.S. sponsorship of proxy—risking total world nuclear—war with Russia in Ukraine. Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan stated that “everything has to be on the table” with regard to examining spending cuts, including military defense, in light of the nation’s $32 trillion debt. “Frankly we better look at the money we send to Ukraine as well and say, how can we best spend the money to protect America?” he said, noting that multi-billion dollar aid to Ukraine is another dubious foreign entanglement.
The New York Times reported that “House Republicans plan to make it much more difficult to win earmarks.”
The election of Kevin McCarthy as America’s Speaker of the House is not an unequivocal good. Many advantages it could mean for defending the United States as a republic based on rights can become disadvantages. For example, the restored motion to vote to remove the speaker could lead to trouble for basic government if an axis of Democrats and others combine forces. The rule can backfire, however, and reinforce good leadership, too. The precarious state of the union can gain stability through good—even decent—statesmanship with increased accountability of a Republican leader.
As a communicator, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, like most current politicians, including Biden, Trump and McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, often rambles. Consider his jumbled victory statement:
If you’re like everybody else we hear: whether you can afford it, whether you feel safe, the challenge of your children getting left behind, or a government that’s run amok, who has a plan to change that course? We do.”
As the unfocused statement above shows, however, McCarthy’s meaning can at least be discerned with sorting, filtering and thinking. This is in contrast to cryptic Barack Obama, who spoke in platitudes and often said the opposite of the truth, such as when he infamously scolded every self-made American that “you didn’t build that.” McCarthy’s leadership is likely to contrast with House leadership by Pelosi, whose explicit statements (when coherent) often contradicted founding American ideals. Last September, Speaker McCarthy described the GOP agenda as a “Commitment to America”, calling to mind House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1994 mid-term campaign “Contract with America” which, as weak as it was, led the GOP to a historic victory (after which Gingrich squandered the opportunity).
America’s new Speaker of the House has a historic opportunity to rebel against the status quo—a siege upon language, concepts, words, free expression, free choice, free speech, reality, reason and individual rights. The current people in the White House promptly dismissed cooperating with the new, duly elected speaker on the budget, spending and other basic matters of state. They’re reportedly refusing to preclude new economic intervention such as minting a coin to cover the budget deficit, which may be approximately $1 trillion this fiscal year. If House Republicans pursue censorship, an abortion ban and other expansion of Big Government, Speaker McCarthy’s leadership and the GOP majority can fail to save America as a republic based on rights. If not, Speaker McCarthy can lead the Republican Party to achieve some good.
Sources: The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The New York Times, Politico, The Guardian, Fox News, Washington Post
About Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy
Autonomia is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Good article, Scott. It’s the ‘naming the issues’ and facing the alternatives that I long to hear from upcoming candidates.