Speaker Controversy Proves Congress Will Never Clean Up Its Own Act
by Vickie Deppe
Love ’im or hate ’im, Americans got a rare glimpse of the sausage being made when Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) made a motion to vacate the chair, i.e., hold a floor vote to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
The Washington establishment circled the wagons, representing the situation as “chaos,” describing those who voted to vacate as “anarchists” and claiming that the United States would not be able to provide aid to Israel without a Speaker. In reality, most government functions continue on autopilot when something like this happens. Nearly 75% of federal spending is either mandatory (social safety net programs, for example) or interest on the national debt (over $33 trillion and rising). The US is committed to provide Israel with $3.8 billion per year through 2028 under an agreement initiated during the Obama administration. And though no other floor votes may take place without an elected Speaker, committee work could have continued so that the remaining spending bills would be ready to go when the new Speaker gavels in. Apparently, the powers that be decided that the optics of repeatedly sending everyone home were better than staying in DC and getting some work done.
Perhaps more telling than these exaggerated claims is what some members probably wish no one had said out loud: they’re worried about not getting their fair share of the $300 million McCarthy was expected to raise for fellow Republicans during the next election cycle. Indeed, just hours after Mike Johnson (R-LA) was sworn in as the new Speaker, outlets including Axios, Fox News, and Business Insider rushed to point out that Johnson lacks the fundraising potential of his predecessor…as if less money from powerful corporate interests expecting a substantial return on investment is a bad thing. No wonder polls indicate that as many as 3 out of 4 Americans support spending controls, limits on political contributions, or both.
Most of the Republicans who wanted McCarthy removed were motivated by his failure to honor promises he’d made concerning federal spending—including a first in a quarter-century opportunity to vote on an actual budget. But moderate Nancy Mace (R-SC) also voiced concerns raised upon learning that McCarthy had been telling conservative members of the conference one thing and moderates something altogether different with respect to Congress’ oversight responsibilities. “We’re just asking leadership to follow the law and keep their promises.”
The search for a new Speaker has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that too many in Congress don’t care about the law, the Constitution, or the truth. Reform must come from the outside, and the states have been entrusted with the constitutional authority to effect it. Fortunately, the new Speaker is a proponent of an Article V Convention.
Article V News
Patrick McSweeney, formerly of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs, has penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal on the need for a constitutional amendment to impose fiscal controls on Congress due to its “inability to restrain itself when it appropriates funds.”
Writing for the Heritage Foundation, John Malcom, Vice President of the Institute for Constitutional Government and Director of the Meese and Simon Centers finds himself Reconsidering the Wisdom of an Article V Convention of the States after attending the Convention of States Foundation’s Simulated Convention.
The Phoenix Correspondence Commission has posted History/Perspectives on Federalism Plus Free Legislative Tools for All States by Dr. Andrew Bibby. To learn more about the PCC and find out if your state is represented, please visit the PCC website or contact Executive Director W. Bruce Lee.
Most state legislatures have adjourned. Those that meet year-round have made no meaningful progress on any Article V legislation this month. We expect the next surge of Article V activity to occur with pre-files after the holidays.
Constitution Boot Camp
Are you working through the Constitution Boot Camp with your colleagues? This month’s topic is Article I, Section 1: The Vesting Clause found on page 6.
Who Said It?
There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.