Kevin McCarthy finally got his way Friday night and was able to sway enough hold out Republicans to vote for him and elect him as the new Speaker of the House for the next 2 years.
There were several holdouts for a long time and as you probably know McCarthy didn’t win the election as speaker until the 15th vote by the House.
One more thing to mention about this is that McCarthy’s nomination to speaker of the House came at a cost. There were several things that he was forced to make concessions on in order to sway some of the Republicans who were not wanting to vote for McCarthy in the first place.
Here is a list of concessions that McCarthy gave to the conservatives as reported the Friday reportedly included the following:
- Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus got commitments to be added to the Rules panel. The committee exerts tremendous power by setting the terms of debate but usually operates as a tool of the Speaker. (It traditionally has a 9:4 ratio, so the majority never loses).
- McCarthy had already agreed to a five-vote requirement to make the motion, which sets up essentially a vote of no-confidence in the Speaker, and agreed to lower it to a single lawmaker.
- McCarthy agreed to take a hard line on increasing the statutory debt limit – which Congress must lift to accommodate spending it has agreed to through appropriations.
The holdouts reportedly got a pledge to get floor votes on term limits and border security. The former in particular could drive a wedge through the conference. McCarthy himself was elected to the House in 2006.
The Conservative Leadership Fund, a PAC backed by McCarthy, brokered a deal with the Club for Growth that will impact Republicans that join the House in the future. The CLF committed to stay out of ‘open’ primaries when a lawmaker vacates a seat. That gives arch-conservatives a chance to prevail in a primary without getting pounded by leadership, which sometimes weighs in on behalf of candidates deemed more ‘electable.’
- McCarthy reportedly agreed to allow ‘open rules’ on spending measures, which could lead to lengthy debates and efforts to zero out funding for programs unpopular with Republicans.
- Another concession is a cap on discretionary spending, CNN reported. although spending levels are usually negotiated by both chambers – and get influenced by the president’s budget requests.
- Republicans are girding to take on the Biden administration, and the conservatives forced a commitment to set up a committee on the ‘weaponization’ of the DOJ. The idea had been floated as a subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee. Its exact structure and membership were uncertain.
Now, there are definitely some good things in that list especially when it comes to term limits because I firmly believe that no member of Congress should be able to serve for 30 years. Whether or not they would actually get approved as another thing but at least there will be a discussion about it.