U.S. News and World Report called it “a disaster.” The Hill proffered that Joe Biden was basking in the “embarrassing” GOP drama. Outgoing Madam Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) wrote, “Democrats stand ready and waiting to get to work, but the Republicans would rather disrespect the institution and the American people.” Indeed, many naysayers would make fun of the messy scrum before Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could get his hands on the people’s gavel. But what if these critics got it all wrong? What if all the fussing, fuming and late nights in the House chamber was worth it? It could be that some may have forgotten this is what a constitutional Republic is supposed to look like.
Kevin McCarthy and the Freedom Caucus
Democrats did things differently when it was their turn to wield the gavel. The 15-ballot process is a vast departure from recent years when the other party carried the majority in the House of Representatives. Save for a few minor skirmishes here or there; Nancy Pelosi pretty much had things locked down. The Dems handed her the gavel four times without so much as a whimper. One can stipulate that in 2021 it was a close vote but nothing like the 15-round melee the nation just witnessed.
But is the Democrat method really the manner in which an American political party should behave – with everyone marching in lockstep? That type of smoothness carries the odor of other forms of governance. In China or Venezuela, there’s not much in the way of political conflict, is there? Likewise, one would be hard-pressed to find a Freedom Caucus in Cuba.
It is possible to argue that Kevin McCarthy’s battle for the speakership benefited the Grand Old Party and the nation. A fantastic amount of work was accomplished in just a few days. Ryan Cooper at the American Prospect asserted the Freedom Caucus is “about 50 of the craziest people in the entire country.” Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and see just what is being called crazy these days:
- Pause for 72 hours before a bill can be brought to the House Floor
Considering that many laws contain hundreds and even thousands of pages, this seems like a reasonable request. The former speaker of the House, Pelosi, famously quipped, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” referring to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That never made much sense, and Republicans are right to forbid such an inane policy.
- Vote on Term Limits
Once again, this does not appear to be a heavy lift. The last time the House voted on term limits was in 1997. The measure lost 217-211, but it wasn’t that close because a two-thirds majority was needed. At the time, Republican from Illinois Henry Hyde (remember him?) was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as positing, “To adopt term limits is to play Russian roulette with the future.” More than 20 years later, the US Congress’s cup runneth over with geriatrics. According to the organization U.S. Term Limits, the “average tenure of U.S. House leadership is more than 20 years.”
- Vote on a Resolution that balances the budget in 10 years
Looking at the US debt clock, it’s easy to see why this measure matters. The national obligation has become a national security issue. Medicare/Medicaid and social security lead US spending and are simply unsustainable. Along these lines, the hold-out faction of the GOP forced another debt measure.
- No increase of the debt limit without spending cuts
The profligate expenditures of American taxpayer money must come to an end. At least some Republican representatives are willing to take on this historic third rail.
- End emergency funding along with COVID funding mandates
Unfortunately, emergency funding has become a slush fund. These so-called emergencies often trample on the rights and liberties of citizens. As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides pointed out, “A continued state of emergency – or perpetual war, if you will – necessitates in the mind of the government, a need for such seized powers to be kept in place. Few governments in history have ever voluntarily relinquished a power once assumed.”
- Single Subject Bills
Rolling everything into one big bill is a ticket to poor governance. There is no sound reason to hide non-related elements into one measure. This is how US taxpayers end up paying $2.1 million for things like Ethiopian shoes.
In addition, the Freedom Caucus requested subject-specific items like a border plan for Texas as well as a committee that will examine FBI activities aimed against Americans. To put the cherry on top and hold Kevin McCarthy’s feet to the fire, the loyal opposition within the Republican party also won the right to a motion that allows for just one member of the House to call for the speaker’s removal should he not keep up his end of the bargain.
Despite the ridicule from Democrats and others on the left who call the Freedom Caucus a bunch of crazies, these hard-fought compromises by which the new speaker must abide, are more than worth the time it took to vote in 15 ballots. If this is crazy, these lawmakers might just be crazy like a fox.
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