Here’s What Concessions Were Made in Battle for Speaker of the House

We shall see, won’t we? But huge props to the Freedom Caucus for getting it done.

Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had to make numerous concessions to win over a holdout group of populist Republicans in order to secure their votes. Here are the key concessions McCarthy had to make, including what some Republican strategists say is the key one—allowing just one member to move to vacate the speaker’s chair, giving McCarthy a fragile grip on power.

In a 20-minute speech following the vote, McCarthy laid out his priorities for the 118th Congress, including securing the southern border, combating “woke” indoctrination in American schools, and unleashing domestic energy production.

The House now plans to vote on a hefty rules package, which includes a series of concessions that the 20 holdout Republicans pushed for.

Some GOP strategists hailed the rule changes as a major win for the House Republicans Conference—the party caucus for Republicans in the House of Representatives—saying it marks the first time in decades that they have independent authority from leadership.

McCarthy’s road to the gavel was rocky, involving 14 rounds of failed votes before the 15th round brought victory. In order to secure the support of the holdout Republicans, McCarthy had to offer a series of concessions.

Republican strategists say the key concession is found in subsection “q” of the new House rules package (pdf). It reinstates a centuries-old rule allowing just one member to move to vacate the speaker’s position.

Such a motion would be made via a so-called “privileged resolution,” which supersedes all other business except adjournment.

“Anyone, anywhere, any time,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said on Thursday on Capitol Hill, commenting about the power this concession grants to members to try and oust their speaker in a vote of no confidence.

Were this motion to be invoked, McCarthy would need a majority of 218 votes to remain as House speaker.

“This effectively neuters McCarthy

“This might be one of the biggest conservative victories since @DaveBratVA7th,” she added, referring to former Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who in 2014 as a Tea Party-backed economics professor delivered a major shock to establishment Republicans by defeating then House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a primary, with Brat hammering him as soft on immigration.

While the move-to-vacate concession has received perhaps the most attention, members of the Freedom Caucus—of which most of the holdout Republicans are members—won another major compromise in the form of more seats on key committees.

Freedom Caucus Representation on Rules Committee

McCarthy has committed to giving members of the Freedom Caucus more seats on the powerful House Rules Committee.

The committee exerts tremendous power in Congress by setting the terms of debate, deciding what amendments can be added to draft legislation, and determining what gets sent to the floor—or blocked.

The Rules panel usually operates as a tool of the speaker but with more representation, conservatives will gain the ability not only to help bring key amendments to the floor on their priority issues—like government spending or abortion—but they’ll also have more opportunities to have their voices heard.

It’s unclear how many seats on the 13-member Rules panel will be given to Freedom Caucus members, with Time reporting that it’s four, though it did not cite a source, while Politico reported it’s three, citing anonymous sources.

In recent Congresses, the majority party held nine seats on the panel and the minority four.

The incoming chair of the Rules Committee, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told Politico that “we’ve had plenty of Freedom Caucus members before” and that “we’ll be fine.”

Overall, McCarthy agreed to a number of reforms in House procedures that empower the rank-and-file members and reduce the power of the speaker.

Hard Line on Debt Limit

Another of McCarthy’s high-profile concessions to conservatives contained in the draft rules package involves agreeing to replace the current “pay-as-you-go” requirements with a “cut-as-you-go” measure.

This would prohibit the consideration of legislation that increases mandatory spending within a five-year or ten-year budget window.

The draft rules package also repeals the so-called “Gephardt Rule,” setting up a separate vote on the debt limit. Currently, with the rule in place, the House automatically sends a joint resolution to raise the debt ceiling when the House adopts a budget package, with the change giving conservatives more scope to push for reduced spending.

“They’re going to say that unless they have very steep spending cuts in domestic programs … they won’t vote for it,” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told The Independent.

Republicans are still reeling from last month’s passage of the mammoth $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, with many objecting to both the price tag and process, with Freedom Caucus members expressing the most vehement opposition.

Spending Reduction

Two other budgetary measures in the draft rules package involve restoring a point of order against a net increase in budget authority for amendments to general appropriations bills and restoring a point of order against budget reconciliation directives that raise net direct spending.

The draft rules package also restores a requirement for a three-fifths supermajority (from a simple majority) vote on increasing the tax rate, another win for conservatives who oppose Washington’s freewheeling tax-and-spend initiatives.

Another measure involves provisions for spending reduction account transfer amendments and requires all general appropriations bills to have spending reduction account sections.

Other concessions include one that would require 72 hours before a bill could come up for a vote and establishes several panels to investigate various issues of concern, including setting up a subcommittee on “weaponization” of the federal government.

The proposal for the subcommittee comes after Republicans recently signaled that they want a top-to-bottom investigation of the FBI after the so-called “Twitter Files” disclosed that the agency pressured Twitter to censor Americans’ free speech.

Before the rules package can be voted on, the process requires that members are first sworn in.

“If McCarthy tries to back out of any concession, he won’t have the votes for any rules package and we’re back to a stall. Congress can’t move without a rules package affirmed,” Ellis said in a post on Twitter.

“Bottom line: With this rules package, the 20 have achieved an historic accountability oversight and check on leadership and the Speaker’s power,” she continued. “I would consider this a TOTAL WIN for Gaetz & Co, the MAGA movement, and therefore America. Declare victory and let’s get to work!”

Attorney Jenna Ellis, who represented the 2020 Trump campaign, said in a post on Twitter.

Rep. Andrew Ogles Reveals What Concessions Were Made in Battle for Speaker of the House

By: The Epoch Times, January 7, 2023:

Although not yet sworn in, first-year Congressman Andrew Ogles from the Tennessee Fifth District found himself in the middle of a historic maelstrom when he arrived in Washington on Dec. 31, 2022, in the company of his family.

But Ogles knew a bit of what he was getting into because he had already become a member of the Freedom Caucus and was already involved in the ongoing negotiations that, as of this writing, seem to have vastly reformed the way the U.S. Congress will do business in exchange for allowing Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to become Speaker.

Ogles should be known to many Epoch Times readers for his participation in the unique primary debate—using domain experts instead of journalists to ask the questions—sponsored by this company in concert with the Nashville Republican Women.

Little did we know, nor probably did he, that Ogles would end up being one of the 20 to instigate this monumental change they say will return the Congress to the original intention of the Founders as The People’s House.

I spoke with Ogles by phone the night of Jan. 6, 2023, before the roll call vote during which, it was said, two of the remaining rejectionists who couldn’t accept McCarthy personally would absent themselves so that the magic number would be lowered and the new Speaker could go over the top.

Apropos, Ogles informed me that what many had guessed was true. His absence from voting in a previous round was also planned. He waited to see that all was going according to plan before stepping forward to flip his vote to McCarthy after the initial round.

For Ogles, the basis of all the negotiations was to establish the rules of the game in Congress that had been altered over the years beyond recognition. As he pointed out, the rules of a game almost always determine the winner.

He shared with me a list of some of what has been roughly negotiated to date. The devil, as always, is in the details.

  1. As has been reported, it will only take a single congressperson, acting in what is known as a Jeffersonian Motion, to move to remove the Speaker if he or she goes back on their word or policy agenda.
  2. A “Church” style committee will be convened to look into the weaponization of the FBI and other government organizations (presumably the CIA, the subject of the original Church Committee) against the American people.
  3. Term limits will be put up for a vote.
  4. Bills presented to Congress will be single subject, not omnibus with all the attendant earmarks, and there will be a 72-hour minimum period to read them.
  5. The Texas Border Plan will be put before Congress. From The Hill: “The four-pronged plan aims to ‘Complete Physical Border Infrastructure,’ ‘Fix Border Enforcement Policies,’ ‘Enforce our Laws in the Interior’ and ‘Target Cartels & Criminal Organizations.’”
  6. COVID mandates will be ended as will all funding for them, including so-called “emergency funding.”
  7. Budget bills would stop the endless increases in the debt ceiling and hold the Senate accountable for the same.

That’s all Ogles would tell me for now, but there is undoubtedly more in ongoing negotiations that could continue even after the final Speaker vote. No word, from him anyway, on committee assignments or agreements, although there are discussions on positions for Freedom Caucus members. Ogles did acknowledge his own interest in the Financial Services Committee, due to his economic background, or the Judiciary Committee.

No word either, so far, of a different kind of Jan. 6 investigation, unless that is intended to be wrapped into the new “Church” Committee.

I asked Ogles if there would be bad blood, as many are warning, after these days of heated negotiation. He denied it. The Republican majority, he said, was too small to afford that, and they all knew it.

Knowing human nature, I wouldn’t have completely believed him on that one had I not heard the resounding and welcoming applause given for every flipped vote. Many of those who voted for McCarthy were one hundred percent in favor of the changes negotiated by the 20, who may well be rewarded in the history books for their initiative.

What has been going on is being referred to as “chaos” by Democrats and the media, including, regrettably, many at Fox News and other supposedly right-leaning outlets. Still, others claim this has been a victory for the “extreme right, imposing their views.”

Keep reading.




McCarthy’s Concessions to Freedom Caucus and What They Mean

Kevin McCarthy Elected Speaker After Making Major Concessions To Freedom Caucus On 15th Vote After Extraordinary Fight on House Floor

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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