Seven Republican congressmen outlined House rule reforms they want in exchange for their vote to elect the next House speaker.
Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA), Chip Roy (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), and Dan Bishop (R-NC); Rep.-Elect Eli Crane (R-AZ) and Rep.-Elect Andy Ogles (R-TN) wrote an open letter to the Republican caucus. They request rules changes to counter what they claim are rules that grant too much power to caucus leaders, according to a report in The Daily Wire.
The GOP eked out a narrow majority in the House of Representatives during the midterm elections, which gives small numbers of representatives outsized power. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is considered the most likely person to be handed the speaker’s gavel in January.
Getting elected will require almost every Republican representative to vote for McCarthy since no Democrats are expected to vote for him. Many members of the lower body see it as an opportunity to squeeze speaker candidate McCarthy for concessions.
“The House leadership of both parties has increasingly centralized decision-making power around fewer and fewer individuals,” they wrote, “at the expense of deliberation and input by the body. This results in massive, multi-subject bills that are unable to be amended or fully read, all driven by supposedly must-pass defense and appropriations measures.”
The seven Republicans claim that under current House rules, the U.S. has run up trillions in federal debt and empowered bureaucrats to target citizens. They further assert it hinders the ability of congressional members to perform basic duties for the American people.
House rules should be restored to permit motions to vacate the chair, which allows members to force a vote on the speakership. The letter writers noted that motion was part of House rules that lasted from 1801 to 2018 when it was removed under Pelosi’s leadership.
The lawmakers also decried the growing habit of party leaders adding last-minute votes to omnibus packages. They requested a return to single-subject bills and at least 72 hours to examine final bill texts so they don’t have to pass a bill to know what is in it.
“For too long under both parties, we have simply failed to do our most basic job to legislate in a responsible manner on behalf of our constituents,” the authors wrote.
Trying to please 221 different Republicans in Congress would be like herding cats. McCarthy tried to get ahead of the issue by appealing to their sense of duty in a letter to House Republicans. He promised to restore Congress to its rightful role as the primary lawmaking authority in the federal government. Also, Republicans will immediately reopen the Capitol and end the Democrat proxy voting and remote work practices enabled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“I will be a listener every bit as much as a Speaker, striving to build consensus from the bottom-up rather than commanding the agenda from the top-down,” McCarthy said.
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