Familia Americana: The Spirit of America
On January 7, 2023, the United States House of Representatives elected a new Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, after 15 rounds of voting. Although the Republican Conference holds the majority in the House, a sure-win of the Speaker’s seat was not attained. In the spirit of America’s constitutional republic, the Speakership had to be earned.
Despite McCarthy being the Conference’s favored candidate, 9% of the Republican assembly opposed his candidacy. Twenty (20) Republican holdouts demanded specific concessions from McCarthy before yielding any support. In the end, six of these twenty denied McCarthy their vote and voted “present,” effectively allowing the Conference to reach the 50% threshold for a majority win.
For the first time in a hundred years, the American people witnessed their constitutional republic at work in a different manner than seen in their lifetime. Not since the 68th Congress which began its term in March of 1923, was there a multiple-ballot exercise on the House floor to elect a new Speaker. The 68th Congress went nine rounds and the republic did not die.
The 188th Congress began with the expected accusations by the opposing political conference: Republicans are in disarray, their infighting is a threat to democracy, etc., etc. However, it was the behavior by members of the Republican Conference majority that took many by surprise.
Our very own Texas Republican congressional representative for District 2, Dan Crenshaw, went as far as to disparage his colleagues for their dissent. Crenshaw, on national television, referred to these holdouts as “terrorists” for their refusal to vote for California Rep. Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House time and again. In another incident, Representative Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) lunged at Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) on the House floor for refusing to support Kevin McCarthy after another round of voting.
Though Crenshaw recanted his words and Rogers apologized for his behavior, the representatives-elect shamed the House, embarrassed themselves, and disrespected the People.
America’s constitutional republic is founded on healthy debate and disagreement. These are part of our American vigor, our spirit. Our elected class must remember this and lead by example. They must conduct themselves with greater decorum while in office and we must ensure this happens.
For too long, the lack of civility and growing hostility in Washington D.C. has contributed to the polarization in our nation. We know that power corrupts people and political attacks are designed to direct anger at the other side, but the People must be smarter and see past these distractions. We must demand better from our Congressional representatives. All of them.
The Republican Conference holdouts may have suffered the ire of their assemblymen by not “going along to get along”, but their challenge to the norms of Washington D.C. resulted in common-sense changes to the Rules of the 118th Congress:
Single-subject bill focus – This requires sponsors to present single subject bills, resulting in greater legislative transparency for the People. Second, until the Rules change again in another congressional session, the People can expect a hold on the excessive use of omnibus bills; bills that are thousands of pages long, cover a massive number of legislative topics, and are never fully read by Congressional representatives before appearing for a vote.
This careless tradition of ramrodding political agendas via omnibus bills has been in practice for decades. This win for the People is a step in the right direction to bringing light to the efforts and actions of the Washington D.C. political elite.
Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, once said that members of the House had to pass a bill in order for the American public to find out what was in it.
In the 188th Congress, we expect greater accountability and transparency, and single-subject bills are a good start.
A new “Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government” – What a gift to those who believe in- and defend freedom! Government should never use its authority to harass, spy on, or control its citizens without presenting cause, undergoing a review and obtaining approval from Congress (the People), and being subjected to oversight by a committee of bi-partisan Congressional representatives. The American people must be respected. The People must be protected, irrespective of political leaning. And We the People are the only ones who can demand it be so.
Requiring a vote on raising the debt limit – Money does not grow on trees, so why are we negligent of our fiscal responsibility and continue growing our national debt without pause? America’s national debt is around $31 TRILLION dollars. We spend more than we take in and borrow the balance needed to cover the annual deficit. Those deficits accumulate and add to our national debt, compounding our underwater financial position. We spend more than we have and make promises that we cannot keep – nor should be making – oftentimes in direct conflict with our values and founding principles. We have become a nation that takes and gives away, and is not creating or generating wealth. We must recognize this ideology for what it is: socialism. And, socialist habits are unsustainable and immoral.
In May of 2022, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2022 to 2032 report acknowledging that “high rising debt would have significant negative consequences, both for the economy and for the federal budget.” Imagine that.
Continuing to raise the debt ceiling with no effort to cut waste or curb spending is irresponsible. It is also immoral to burden future generations of Americans with the repayment of a colossal sum of debt, incurred by their reckless forefathers. Without their knowledge or consent, we are condemning future generations of Americans to economic hardship. And who will the People turn to for solutions?
In the early days of January, we witnessed the American spirit of old, on the House floor. Representatives of the governed challenged the government’s established ways of doing business and caught up to the runaway train that is Washington D.C. The twenty Republican holdouts pushed back on members of their own Republican Conference to demand common-sense changes to the Rules of the 188th Congress. Changes for more legislative transparency, freedom from government infringement, and fiscal restraint, to the benefit of all.
Our Founding Fathers believed in the people of the United States of America. They believed the People have the right and ability to know what is best for their family and to govern through their own representatives. Let’s remember the true Spirit of America and work hard to remain a nation of, by, and for the people, for centuries to come.