(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) A group of rebel Republicans with Freedom Caucus members at its core capped off a historic show of democracy in action on the second anniversary of Jan. 6, helping to elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as House speaker, after successfully negotiating key concessions to advance an American First agenda with the party’s new House majority.
As part of speaker’s drama, former President Donald Trump’s involvement wrangling a resolution signaled to some that MAGA might have walked away as one of the big winners.
The four-day, 15-ballot marathon unfolded with fiery debate, shouting sprees, a near shoving match and rounds of political discussions that centered on the best strategies for moving the country forward in the right direction.
“[W]e deliberated as a body for the first time in a long time and showed glimpses of what a bona fide constitutional republic should look like,” wrote Rep. Andy Biggs, the Arizona Republican who was one of six McCarthy hold-outs to drop his opposition with a vote of “present” on the 15th ballot, which gave McCarthy the track to win, after a phone call with Trump.
The $1.7b omnibus bill Congress just passed was 4,000 pages. Nobody who voted read it all. This is how it works: Leaders put together huge bills and order members to vote YES.
This is a fundamentally broken and anti-democratic system. Let’s have a few days to shine light on it.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 6, 2023
“For what it’s worth, governing in a constitutional republic isn’t designed to be easy,” tweeted MAGA firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert, leading up to the 15th ballot and her “present” vote.
For what it’s worth, governing in a constitutional republic isn’t designed to be easy.
It isn’t designed to be pretty.
It’s designed to yield maximum freedom and minimum tyranny.
That’s exactly what’s happening.
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) January 7, 2023
Democrats hated it, with some far leftists and a fake news media comparing it to what they claimed was the violent J6 riot.
President Joe Biden called the Republicans’ behavior “embarrassing” and along with other Democrats complained that the process was taking too long, preventing them from their business of raising taxes and prolific partisan spending.
“I hope they get their act together.” Biden said, because “the rest of the world is looking.”
Assurances that the GOP would use its new House majority to hold Biden accountable for the border crisis were negotiated by Freedom Caucus members during the speaker’s battle, which produced a wave of concessions from McCarthy.
The “juice was worth the squeeze,” said Freedom Caucus Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., who voted “present” on the final ballot.
The juice was worth the squeeze – we fought for and secured agreement on major reforms ending the unacceptable status quo in Washington. The path to restoring fiscal sanity, accountability, transparency, and prioritizing National Security in the People’s House is underway. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/xeuLaRcH2d
— RepScottPerry (@RepScottPerry) January 7, 2023
While the concessions were major, so were concerns that the fight to procure them created a schism between pro-MAGA Republicans, which saw some aggressively back McCarthy, while others ripped him with gusto.
An early indication of whether those rifts can be resolved without McCarthy critics being punished for holding out could come with the House’s adoption of rules on Monday and appointment to key committees. Those include the powerful Rules Committee and influential Appropriations Committee, which were both slated to include Freedom Caucus members under the concessions reportedly negotiated with McCarthy.
“I feel like the American people won. I feel that the House of Representatives will be a healthier institution,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who got into a heated exchange with McCarthy before eventually voting “present,” told the New York Post.
His hold-out, along with Boebert and other pro-MAGA Republicans, was in sharp contrast to Trump, who along with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene backed McCarthy.
Greene, along with others, credited Trump for convincing the staunchest McCarthy critics to drop their opposition. Trump’s “role was huge” in the negotiations, Greene told Breitbart.
“This doesn’t get done without the support and leadership of President Trump,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who garnered nominations for speaker but stuck with McCarthy.
Heard from multiple sources that it was Trump’s calls that sealed the deal.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 7, 2023
Rep. Byron Donalds, the Florida Republican who also gained speaker nominations before backing McCarthy, said that Trump had “played a good part in this.”
The former president called Gaetz and Biggs on Friday during tense negotiations leading up to the decisive ballot, convincing them it was time to drop the opposition.
Former President Trump placed called to both Andy Biggs and Matt Gaetz as all the drama played out on the House floor, I’m told. Both of them have changed their votes to “present” this round.
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) January 7, 2023
Trump’s involvement prompted speculation that the former president, and current presidential candidate, might have been playing the long game by sticking with McCarthy, safe in the knowledge that while Gaetz was launching public broadsides, and Greene was sucking up to the new speaker, other staunch America First representatives like North Carolina’s Dan Bishop were working to hammer out the best deal for the Freedom Caucus and MAGA agenda before flipping their support to McCarthy.
Proud of my conservative friends in the house who just won the best deal the right has ever gotten from Republican Leadership. We need to put petty personal disputes aside & do what’s best for the movement. This is a transformational deal that will change Congress for the better!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 6, 2023
The mainstream media’s prevailing argument that the concessions McCarthy ceded would make him a weaker speaker, could be turned upside-down and see him emerge as a historic one.
That could happen if McCarthy uses his new position to push America First policies and a MAGA agenda to hold the Biden regime accountable, rejecting the swamp mentality that a GOP establishment has embraced and that led to underwhelming midterm results.
McCarthy as much as credited Gaetz, and by extension Trump, for securing him the speakership by getting “everybody there to the point that nobody voted against me,” and persuading other hold-outs to vote “present” to give him the winning edge.
This is what we’ve been fighting for https://t.co/7ZSvILkqCM
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 8, 2023
The new speaker sounded ready to lead in the right direction, based on his acceptance speech.
McCarthy: “Speaking of committees, we will hold the swamp accountable, from the withdrawal of Afghanistan, to the origins of Covid and to the weaponization of the FBI. Let me be very clear. We will use the power of the purse and the power of the subpoena to get the job done.” pic.twitter.com/QGJs0p1bMp
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 7, 2023
“It is important that he be successful and I wish him success in fighting the Democrats and advancing the Republican agenda,” Biggs wrote of Speaker McCarthy. “He has shown a new willingness to empower the people of the country and I will be watching closely to see if he stays true to his word.”
The multi-round balloting and negotiating, Biggs wrote, “proved that that the House Speakership is earned, not given.”
“I was reliably informed that the 20 R’s were grandstanders who were going to get a Dem elected Speaker,” tweeted XStrategies senior digital guru Greg Price. “Instead, they negotiated a Church Cmte, single subject bills, 3 Freedom Caucus members on the Rules Cmte, a plan to balance the budget, and McCarthy still ended up Speaker.”
The people who should get thank you cards the most are @chiproytx and @RepDanBishop. Truly heroic and historic stuff that they did for America this week in Congress. Two of the very best warriors that we have.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 7, 2023
One of the key questions moving forward is whether MTG, having sated what exasperated critics of her pining for establishment kudos, uses what could be a seat on the Rules Committee to push for changes to upset and upend that same status quo establishment.
Oh for Gods. Sakes. I give up. https://t.co/kC2J87IS0G
— Nick Searcy, INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION STAR (@yesnicksearcy) January 7, 2023
Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., another of the six hold-outs who voted “present” to allow McCarthy a path to the speakership, sounded on Saturday like he was expecting cooperation on all fronts to back the concessions won by the Freedom Caucus.
“I want to congratulate Kevin McCarthy on his election to Speaker of the U.S. House
of Representatives,” Rosendale wrote. “I’m proud that my colleagues and I challenged the status quo and secured rule changes to ensure all Americans have a more significant voice in the People’s House.
“Because we took a hard stand, power will be less centralized in House leadership, and individual Members will be better able to serve the interests of their constituents. Now it is time for us to get to work on the priorities we share: holding the Biden Administration accountable, securing our southern border, and restoring our nation’s enerqy independence.”
My statement on last night's Speaker election ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/talZH6nvIJ
— Matt Rosendale (@RepRosendale) January 7, 2023