As GOP elects Kevin McCarthy Speaker on 15th vote, expert urges accounting of closed-door ‘secret concessions’
Kevin McCarthy has been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives at the end of a week-long drama that required fifteen separate votes, the most since before the Civil War. The final vote was 216-212, with six “present.”
McCarthy and his top allies spent much of the week wheeling and dealing with the far-right insurrectionist extremist faction of the GOP House caucus. Among the secret behind-closed-door promises McCarthy reportedly made was to attach reductions to Social Security and Medicare to the upcoming debt ceiling bill, and possibly agreeing to a forced shutdown of the federal government that would careen the world economy into chaos.
“Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker by offering concessions to the pro-insurrection caucus on the two year anniversary of January 6th is just a perfect statement about the GOP,” observed former Obama White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer.
University of Texas School of Law Professor Steve Vladeck noted, “McCarthy is going to become speaker only because of concessions to the members of his caucus most closely associated with—if not directly implicated in—what happened two years ago today. The dysfunction is entertaining, but what the result says about where we’re heading is scary.”
“In many ways this vote is the final act of the MAGA insurrection. Infiltrating the chamber, appealing to #McCarthy’s ego, and crashing the Government and the US economy from the inside by leveraging concessions. This has Bannon’s prints all over it,” said British broadcaster and independent journalist Anthony Davis.
According to CNN’s Melanie Zanona, some of the concessions McCarthy has agreed to include:
“Anyone can call for a vote to oust speaker”
“McCarthy leadership PAC won’t play in safe open primaries”
“Debt ceiling hike must be paired with spending cuts”
“More Freedom Caucus members on committees, including House Rules”
“Cap discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, which would amount to lower levels for defense & domestic programs”
“Create investigative committee to probe the ‘weaponization’ of the federal government”
“Hold votes on key conservative bills, including balanced budget amendment, congressional term limits, border security”
“Move 12 appropriations bill individually, not in an omnibus”
“Give members ability to offer more amendments on the House floor”
Political experts are concerned about the secret promises McCarthy has made.
“Hey, you know what seems conspicuous? That we don’t know EXACTLY what conservatives got for their votes,” The Daily Beast’s Washington Bureau Chief, Matt Fuller, tweeted. “GOP leaders aren’t saying and neither are conservatives. It’s almost like no one wants the rest of the conference to know…”
“Essential to know exactly what secret concessions McCarthy has made to flip House Republicans who had been strenuously opposing him,” said famous presidential historian Michael Beschloss.