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Matt Gaetz Demands Answers as McCarthy Occupies Speaker’s Office Despite Losing 3 Consecutive Votes

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida appears bound and determined to keep House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from ever becoming House speaker, unless he makes key concessions. Gaetz wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol Tuesday protesting McCarthy’s taking up residence in the speaker’s office. “I write to inform you that the Speaker of the House Office located in the U.S. Capitol Building is currently occupied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz said in the letter. “As of this morning, the 117th Congress adjourned sine die, and a Speaker from the 118th Congress has not been elected,” he continued. “After three undeciding votes, no member can lay claim to this office.” Twenty Republicans, including Gaetz, voted for someone other than McCarthy to be speaker, denying him the 218 needed to secure the office. Republicans have a 222 to 212 majority, with one vacant seat, so McCarthy can only afford to lose four GOP lawmakers’ vote. “What is the basis in law, House rule, or precedent to allow someone who has placed second in three successive speaker elections to occupy the Speaker of the House Office?” Gaetz asked. “How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter?” McCarthy failed to secure a majority during a fourth vote Wednesday, as well. Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries actually secured the most support in four votes that took place Tuesday and Wednesday, with all 212 members from his party backing him. Gaetz explained his opposition to McCarthy Tuesday saying, “If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise.” “We offered Kevin McCarthy terms last evening that he rejected,” the Floridian added. Gaetz said their terms included a vote in the first quarter of the year on term limits, on a balanced budget, and on the Texan delegation’s plan to secure the border. “We struggle with trust with Mr. McCarthy because time and again his viewpoints, his positions they shift like sands underneath you,” Gaetz recounted. “We will not continue to allow the uniparty to run this town without a fight,” he said. GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado affirmed Tuesday that McCarthy turned down a deal members of the House Freedom Caucus offered that would have made him speaker. “We had a deal that was not a selfish deal in any way for Kevin McCarthy to get him the gavel on the first ballot and he eagerly dismissed us,” Boebert said. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania tweeted Tuesday, “I stand firmly committed to changing the status quo no matter how many ballots this takes.” “If @gopleader McCarthy had fought nearly as hard to defeat the failed, toxic policies of the @POTUS Biden Administration as he has for himself, he would be Speaker of the House right now,” Perry added. In November, the Freedom Caucus published a document with proposed rule changes for the 118th Congress. Their main purpose would be to empower individual members of Congress to be involved with the legislative process. “Under current House rules, 430 of 435 members have no true opportunity to provide input into major legislation considered in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona said at a November meeting to discuss the rule changes. Former Capitol Hill staffers explained how the current top-down process serves the swamp’s interests. That truth was most recently on display in the passage of the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill last month. “Congress might be broken for the members, but it actually works very well for the swamp,” Ed Corrigan, president of the Conservative Partnership Institute and a former Senate Steering Committee staff member, said at the meeting. “It’s a well-oiled machine that produces whatever the swamp desires and treats rank-and-file members like sheep,” Corrigan continued. “Member participation has been extinguished in favor of a centrally controlled process with few staff and the leadership offices making all decisions in secret.” Rules changes proposed at the meeting included a “majority of the majority rule” and members being permitted to offer amendments to bills on the House floor. “Nothing comes to the House floor unless it receives a vote from the majority of Republicans,” former Hill staffer Rachel Bovard advised, referring to the party whip count taken among members prior to a bill coming to the floor. In other words, no more cutting deals with Democrats to move legislation through the House that most GOP lawmakers do not back. These sound like reasonable requests. Gaetz, Boebert, Perry, Biggs and the rest are making a principled stand against the swamp, and it’s a fight worth having. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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