House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is stepping up and doubling down on some of his promises about how the lower chamber will be run next year. He is doing this to try to beat back opposition from a few House Republicans who are trying to stop his bid to become Speaker. Over the weekend, he warned that if Republicans didn’t take the gavel right away, it would delay GOP goals and his plans for his conference.
McCarthy, who won the GOP nomination for Speaker of the House, said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures”: “Right now, it’s slowing down our ability to govern as we go.” “So I’m hoping that everyone will get along and find a way to run the country together. This is what the people of the United States want. If we don’t do something, we’ll waste this majority.”
Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), and Ralph Norman (S.C.) have said or strongly indicated that they will not vote for McCarty for Speaker on Jan. 3, when he needs support from a majority of those voting for a Speaker candidate. In January, Republicans will have a narrow majority of 222 seats, while Democrats will only have 212. His opponents are trying to stop him from getting the job.
McCarthy’s strongest critics didn’t buy his argument. Their problems with him range from him not promising to pass a smaller federal budget to asking him to do more to give power to regular members.
“‘Throwing away this majority’ would mean letting a guy take over as House Speaker who the conservative movement has been criticizing for years,” Biggs replied in a tweet. “Leaders aren’t people who lead from behind.”
McCarthy made six promises to become Speaker:
Try to roll back IRS funding boost
McCarthy said in September that the first bill from the House Republicans would be to “repeal 87,000 IRS agents.” This was a reference to the $80 billion boost in funding for the IRS that was part of the Democrats’ tax, climate, and health care bill that was signed into law earlier this year.
With the new money, the Treasury Department said in 2021 that the IRS could hire nearly 87,000 people over a decade. This number includes support staff, auditors, and people to replace those who leave the agency. Republicans have said many times that all of the 87,000 people hired by the IRS would be “agents,” which is not true. They used this threat to try to get people to vote for them in the midterms. A bill like this would probably die as soon as it got to the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.
Remove certain Democrats from committee assignments
McCarthy says he will kick Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) off the House Intelligence Committee and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) off the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The move is in part a response to the fact that GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) were kicked off their committees last year because of violent posts and comments they made on social media and in person about other members. It’s also a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who vetoed two of McCarthy’s choices for the Jan. 6 committee. After that, McCarthy pulled his other three choices.
The leader of the GOP said that Schiff, who is in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, had lied to the public about investigations into former President Trump. Schiff replied that McCarthy would “misrepresent my record” and do “whatever he needs to do to get the votes of the QAnon caucus within his conference.”
McCarthy said that Swalwell shouldn’t be on the House Intelligence Committee because he is close to an alleged Chinese spy who helped raise money for Swalwell’s 2014 campaign and put an intern in his office. Swalwell’s office said that he gave the FBI information about the person.
McCarthy has also said that Omar said things that were hurtful to Jews. McCarthy’s threat, Omar said in a statement, is “part of a long-running campaign against Muslim and African voices.” To get rid of a member from a standing committee, the whole House has to vote. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should be looked into.
Hard-line Conservatives in the House want to get rid of people who work for the Biden administration, and Mayorkas is at the top of their list. They blame him for the crisis at the southern border. McCarthy has said that Republicans will not use impeachment for “political purposes,” but he has not said that he will do that.
Instead, on a trip to the border just before Thanksgiving, McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign or face House GOP investigations and a possible impeachment inquiry. These were McCarthy’s strongest comments on the subject to date. But McCarthy’s opponents are not happy with this step up. Biggs said in a tweet, “He had plenty of time to support articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, but he kept quiet.”
Set up a House committee to study China.
McCarthy has promised to make a House Select Committee on China, which Republicans hope will lead to real agreements on both economic and military issues between the two parties. McCarthy tried to work with Democrats to make a China select committee for 2020. Republicans say that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled Democrats out of the plan right before the COVID-19 pandemic started. At the time, the Washington Post said that Democrats were worried that the China issue was becoming too political.
People think that dealing with China is one of the few things that both parties can agree on in the next Congress.
Stop voting by proxy
McCarthy has said that the practice from the time of the pandemic of letting House members choose another member to vote for them will end. He said this is because it “allows Members of Congress to get paid without ever having to show up for work.”
Members of both parties have used proxy voting, which requires a letter saying the member can’t be there in person “due to the ongoing public health emergency,” for reasons that didn’t seem to have anything to do with health. McCarthy took a case against proxy voting to the Supreme Court, but the court turned it down in January.
Introduce bills about the culture war
McCarthy and other House Republicans have said they will move forward with the “Parents Bill of Rights.” This bill was made last year in response to angry school board meetings about the “woke” curriculum and school closures related to COVID-19.
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