The United States House of Representative has gotten back to work after Republican legislators united. Resolve a gruelling deadlock over who would be the next speaker, the chamber’s presiding officer.
But Democrats are warning that a Republican-controlle House with an empowere far-right contingency could spell. Trouble not only for President Joe Biden’s agenda but also for the basic functions of the US government.
Newly appointed Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy preside over. The chamber on Monday as lawmakers passed a rules package to govern the House. The next two years guidelines that Democrats argue will make it more difficult to approve vital legislation. Including government budget measures.
US House Republicans get to work, but Democrats raise concerns
That rules package included concessions McCarthy had agreed to in order to win the speakership. His candidacy had been blocked 14 times last week by far-right members of his own caucus.
To win the gavel during a historic 15th vote, McCarthy had to give in to certain demands, including lowering the threshold to call for a vote of confidence in the speaker. Now, a single legislator can do it.
Monday’s rules package also contains new regulations that make it more difficult to pass spending bills. Another concession will make it easier for Congress to slash funding for individual federal programmes and agencies.
“What’s clear from all of this is that the Republican Party no longer cares about governing, and this rule package is ‘exhibit number one’,” Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern said on the House floor.
He denounced Republican House leaders who sacrificed their “own dignity” to please the far right.
“The American people sent us here because they want us to put people over politics,” McGovern continued. “Sadly, this rule package puts politics first, empowering the extremists who are only interested in their own power.”
‘We learned how to govern’
But for many Republicans, the deal that emerged from the speaker’s impasse represented a course correction that would put more power in the hands of individual legislators and enable greater debate in the chamber.
“We’re going to have votes on term limits, balanced budgets, enforcement of our immigration laws, & more,” said Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz in a Twitter post celebrating the new rules.
A leading dissenter against McCarthy’s speakership in the initial rounds of voting, Gaetz credited his fellow hold-outs with helping to overhaul the House rules: “NONE of those things would’ve happened if we caved, but with these concessions, the House is in a stronger position.”
Hours before his late-night election as speaker, McCarthy himself suggested that the deadlock would help the Republican caucus resolve its differences in future.