Over the past several decades, the House Rules Committee has consolidated more power and under the new GOP House, it will likely supersede the power of any speaker. Kevin McCarthy has agreed to even further changes as part of his negotiation and it will make House rules that empower the fringe even more.
The compromise agreed to by McCarthy’s team gave into nearly every demand, including giving them the power to stop bills across the board.
"What I want is I want the Rules Committee to reflect ideologically our ability to stop an omnibus spending bill like was just passed in December over the wishes of Republicans by Mitch McConnell and 18 Republicans who didn't give a crap about Americans." Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) told Fox on Wednesday night.
Brendan Buck, who ran communications for former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), explained that this problem with the far-right isn't a new one and it was something they dealt with under Ryan and something former Speaker John Boehner dealt with. What is different now, however, is that those Republicans were working with a decent-sized majority and McCarthy has only a few.
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"But the situation that Kevin found himself in now is, I think, long-term very damaging," Buck told MSNBC on Thursday as the seventh ballot was about to begin. "And so we're throwing out concessions. We don't know whether some of these members are even going to accept this deal. Now that these things are on the table, it feels like it's pretty hard to walk back."
The important piece of the Rules Committee changes is that they can stop any budget or debt ceiling bill from coming to the floor. It makes it certain that the committee could shut down the federal government in Aug. 2023, when the next bill is scheduled to come up.
"If Kevin McCarthy is handing over the keys to the Rules Committee to some of these members, that is going to have a profound impact on the House's ability to govern. I don't want to use the nightmare scenario, but a debt limit increase needs to come to the floor and there are enough Freedom Caucus members, or conservative members, on the Rules Committee they don't allow that bill to come to the floor, we can't raise the debt limit. That's a big problem. Maybe that's an extreme example, but he's saying the Speaker's committee that controls the agenda is going to have somewhat controlled by the Freedom Caucus."
Typically the committee is made up of nine majority members and just four minority members to ensure that the majority is always in control of the agenda.
"The Democrats on the Rules Committee will almost always vote no on what the majority is trying to bring up," Buck continued. "If you have four Democrats always voting no and you have enough Republicans say three remember Republicans who are going to vote no as well, you have a 7-6 situation where the bills the leadership wants to bring up is blocked. Now it doesn't mean they can bring up anything. You still need cooperation from the rest of the Republicans who are bringing up something proactively. But if they don't want to bring something to the floor and partner with the Democrats on the committee, who will almost always vote no on what the majority wants to bring up, then the House is paralyzed and the Speaker cannot bring bills to the floor."
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