House holdouts should take the win and support McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., holds a news conference following GOP leadership elections for the 117th Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

House holdouts should take the win and support McCarthy

The rules package released by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Sunday isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction, McCarthy skeptics achieved significant concessions, and it is time for them to declare victory and move on.

Most prominently, McCarthy’s detractors have won a reduced threshold for a motion to vacate the chairmanship, a mechanism they view as a tool to hold any speaker accountable to the caucus. Democrats had required a majority of a party to trigger a motion to vacate vote, and McCarthy has agreed to lower that threshold to just five members. That’s a big win.

MCCARTHY DEFIANT AHEAD OF SPEAKER VOTE

Dissenters had also called for the return of the Holman Rule, which allows members to target specific federal programs and even employees for funding cuts. McCarthy has fully returned the Holman Rule to the House rules.

Dissenters also asked for a rule enabling a vote on any amendment if at least 10% of the conference supported voting on an amendment. McCarthy did not make this change, but he did make it harder for the Rules Committee to avoid votes on amendments on the House floor.

McCarthy’s rules package isn’t perfect. Considering that an open amendment process has not been allowed on the House floor since 2016, more could have been done to ensure open debate. But this rules package is a significant improvement from what the Democrats had last Congress.

If Republicans want to take the White House and Senate in 2024, they need to show they can govern. A chaotic and drawn-out speaker vote on the first day of Republican control would not send that message.

The border will not be secured, spending will not be tamed, and the Department of Justice will not be de-weaponized until there is a Republican in the White House.

All House Republicans need to keep their eyes on the prize, take the wins McCarthy has given them, and elect him as speaker.

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