Barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy serves at the pleasure of the maniacs and has proven it every day. The concessions they wrenched from him in the four long days and 15 votes just keep appearing. We haven’t seen the supposed secret three-page addendum to the House rules for this Congress, but we don’t really need to see it to know that he sold his soul to them for the gavel.
That includes allowing the nation to default on its debts. It includes the promise to have a floor vote on a national sales tax bill so radical and ridiculous all previous Republican majorities ignored it.
Then there are his committee assignments, for George Santos, for Marjorie Taylor Greene. She has been put on the powerful Oversight Committee, along with “13 election deniers, 10 impeach-Biden-world advocates, and 3 congressional subpoena dodgers.” Eleven of the 17 committee chairs in the House are now run by election deniers—they’re the chairs!
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RELATED: GOP denials over ‘three-page addendum’ with McCarthy’s Freedom Caucus deals ring hollow
The latest insult to the institution of the House is the new membership of another powerful committee: Rules. That committee is the gatekeeper of the House floor. Everything piece of legislation the House is going to vote on has to go through it. Now it’s got three Freedom Caucus-aligned members on it, just like he promised in the grueling voting process. Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Ralph Norman (R-SC) are now in a position to really screw up that committee.
Roy and Norman were among the McCarthy holdouts for the first dozen or so votes, with Roy then inserting himself in the negotiations that brought it home for McCarthy. Massie is Freedom Caucus-adjacent, apparently not identifying himself as one of them but nonetheless a regular thorn in the side of his leadership like his friend and fellow Kentuckian Sen. Rand Paul. For example, Massie was the lone vote against condemning anti-Semitism.
Massie led a one-man crusade against the first COVID-19 relief package in March 2020 by insisting on a recorded vote and making enough members show up on the House floor—in the early days of rampant infection, to provide a quorum and overrule him. That stunt made Donald Trump demand Massie be kicked out of the GOP. (Trump got over it.)
The Rules Committee is usually populated by people who support leadership, to make sure that the priorities of the most powerful members of the conference advance. Not anymore! These three voting as a bloc can stop legislation, along with the Democrats on the panel—committee member is split 9-4.
The Rules chair, Rep. Tom Cole, insists he is “delighted to welcome a diverse slate of Republican members.” By “diverse,” he apparently means two women (Reps. Michelle Fischbach [MN-07] and Erin Houchin [IN-09]) because this is a darned white group. “I look forward to working together to restore regular order, ensure thorough debate and ultimately advance real American priorities to the House floor.”
I don’t think restoring order is really what the three new maniacs on the committee have in mind. No more than “real American priorities.” So have fun, Chairman Cole, and enjoy the fruits of your help getting the weakest House Speaker in history in charge.