It was the longest House speaker contest in 164 years, but at long last, Kevin McCarthy has possession of the gavel.
It was a wild, chaotic, and sometimes violent trek to get to this point, but McCarthy finally secured the 216 votes he needed on Friday night to officially be named speaker of the House and convene the 118th Congress. It only took 15 votes to secure his new role.
So, how did he do it?
By channeling former President Donald Trump’s “art of the deal.”
As multiple outlets have reported, including CNN and The Hill, McCarthy had to offer a number of concessions to the hard-line conservatives who were refusing to give him the necessary number of votes to be elected speaker.
Perhaps the most shocking concession McCarthy made was one that puts his seat in the most peril.
“Any member can call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair — this is significant because it would make it much easier than it is currently to trigger what is effectively a no confidence vote in the speaker. Conservatives pushed hard for this, while moderates are worried it will weaken McCarthy’s hand,” CNN stated.
The Hill claims that this is giving both Republicans and Democrats “heartburn” over concerns that it could weaken McCarthy’s power, while also creating a powerful leverage point.
“I think it’s a terrible decision,” Republican Rep. Don Bacon told The Hill.
“If one person can push a motion to vacate, we’ll do this again. How would you like to do this every week?” Bacon added.
Did McCarthy shoot himself in the foot with that concession? Perhaps. However, many of the other reported concessions seem like relative no-brainers.
One concession given is that any efforts to raise the nation’s debt ceiling must be accompanied by spending cuts.
Given America’s exorbitant national debt, that makes sense.
Another concession given is that there must be 72 hours given to review bills before they come on the floor. Given the sheer density of some bills that come through, that, again, seems more than fair.
A concession that many Americans will agree with is McCarthy bringing back the Holman rule. In short, that rule allows for a reduction in government officials’ salaries.
Here are the other reported concessions thus far:
- A McCarthy-aligned super PAC cannot spend money in Republican primaries that are considered “safe.”
- There are multiple key conservative bills that will move forward to a vote now.
- Measures are being put in place to avoid all-encompassing omnibus bills, which makes it much easier for lawmakers to sneak things in.
- There will be a cap put on discretionary spending, based on 2022 fiscal levels.
- More Freedom Caucus members will be represented on committees.
- Representatives will have the ability to offer more amendments on the House floor.
- An investigative committee will be created to look into the way various branches of the federal government have been weaponized — notably against conservatives.
To be clear, these are only what has been reported thus far. There could be any number of other concessions that McCarthy has had to make through backdoor channels.
One thing remains abundantly clear: The 118th Congress is going to look wildly different with McCarthy at the helm versus Nancy Pelosi.
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