Speaker McCarthy delivers...so far
The 118th Session of the U.S. House of Representatives is off to a roaring start, amidst adoption of H.R. 5. Rules were negotiated between newly elected speaker Kevin McCarthy and twenty America First members. After five grueling days of balloting without a final selection, McCarthy won election by virtue of being smart enough to collaborate with the objecting members who remain unshakable in their principles.
What is unique is how, literally overnight, Republican House members morphed into a united, formidable party of relevance and authority as Majority Leader Steve Scalise (LA) and Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole (OK) took full command of the House floor guiding adoption of the rules on a party-line 220-213 vote with one nay Republican vote.
As debates evolved over the next three days, Republicans played it perfectly, focusing on the high road, maintaining a civil attitude of collegiality with reliable facts and pledging to benefit all Americans with a more equitable, engaged process before taking legislation to the House floor.
Meanwhile, across the aisle, the Democrats, led by Rep. Jim McGovern (MA), went on the attack as Dems resorted to name-calling, petty whining, and complaining, at times bordering on the emotionally overwrought without articulating a valid reason for their opposition. Whenever Democrats boast about abortion or lodge accusations of "terrorists," "extremists," or "election deniers," it is an admission that they do not have the votes or a credible factual argument and that they are on the ropes, especially as they are genetically incapable of debating without carping about former president Donald Trump and referring to all Republicans as MAGA extremists as if it were an insult.
Highlights of the week's impressive legislative accomplishments include the following:
- H.R. 23 would rescind "certain balances to the IRS," which would have funded 87,000 new IRS agents on a 221-210 vote with one Republican nay vote. The Senate needs to ratify.
- H.R. 12 creates a Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of Federal Government to function within the House Judiciary Committee, initially focused on Biden's mishandling of classified documents, which landed in the lap of the new subcommittee like manna from heaven. On a 221-211 vote with one nay Republican vote.
- H.R. 11 creates a Select Committee on Strategic Competition between U.S. and Chinese Communist Party on a 365-65 vote with 146 Democrats in support (including Reps. Pelosi and Jeffries) and three Republicans not voting.
- H.R. 22 (Prohibiting American Strategic Petroleum Reserves from China Act) prohibits the DoE secretary from exporting/selling American SPR to China. Approved 331-97, with four Republican nay votes, with Reps. Pelosi and Jeffries opposing, while 113 Democrats voted in the affirmative. Senate needs to ratify.
- HConR 3, Expressing Sense of Congress, opposes recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches — 222-209, with three Dems voting aye and three R's not voting.
- H.R. 26 is the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, concerning the failure of health care workers to provide proper degree of care to child who survives abortion or attempted abortion (220-210).
Meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy has been making promised committee assignments, with Reps. Andy Ogles (TN) and Byron Donalds (FL) named to the influential Financial Services Committee and Rep. Ralph Norman (SC) continuing on the FSC. Donalds has also been named as the speaker's representative on the administrative arm of the Republican Steering Committee. Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA) and Rep. Michael Cloud (TX) are appointed to the powerful Appropriations Committee. Three appointments to the essential Rules Committee are publicly pending, although appointment selections have been made but not expected to be announced until Congress reconvenes on January 24.
There is an undeniable new dynamism manifest, as a quick look at proposed bills introduced by Republican House Members for committee consideration reveals widespread pertinent topics: H.R. 344 prohibits purchase of American real estate by CCP members; H.R. 336, immediate resumption of Building the Wall; H.R. 337, prohibition of a ban on gas stoves; H.R. 335, increased fentanyl penalty; H.R. 343 prohibits U.S. contributions to the World Health Organization; H.R. 348 requires an audit of COVID-19 funding; and on and on.
While McCarthy confirmed that Trump played a significant role in making the necessary calls, there is no agreement that he positively influenced the twenty to "knock it off" and seal the deal before they reached the point where the deal could not be improved upon. While some of the twenty are already acknowledged as America First pioneers, others are growing into their niche as a new faction of politically savvy trailblazers — all no doubt re-energizing the House Republican Party as it provides a model for the country and the Senate to experience how a determined single-minded truth-to-power minority can positively alter a once-resistant majority.
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