California elected official Kevin McCarthy overcame his first test as one speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States with the adoption, without difficulty, of the rules of the House of Commons of the United States Parliament, which he painfully deprived of the presidency on the 6th of January.
Only one elected Republican defected, a remarkable score as the party tore itself apart last week. For four days, a handful of elected Trumpists had effectively blocked the accession of Kevin McCarthy, who was finally elected only on the fifteenth ballot and in an electric atmosphere, a scenario not seen in more than 160 years.
The elected official welcomed on Twitter the adoption of rules which “encourage elected officials to debate, increase transparency, and reopen Congress to the people”.
Congress has been broken for a long time. Over the years, a concentration of power within the pulpit has… https://t.co/sWh79Kv0U9
But his fellow Democrats noted that he had made major concessions to the rogues to bring them back into line. “I am concerned about the deals that have been made behind the scenes”said selectman Jim McGovern. “These rules do not represent a serious attempt to govern, but a ransom demand for the United States from the far right”he added.
Over the weekend, moderate Republican elected officials had voiced the same criticism. “We have no idea about the promises that have been made and it hurts my heart”had especially declared the elected Nancy Mace, who, despite her reservations, voted with the majority.
Immediate right turn
The new rules require elected officials to be present to vote on legislation, unlike a measure passed during the pandemic. It also authorizes only one of them, against five so far, to move a vote of no confidence against speaker.
Next, it provides the opportunity to set up a commission of inquiry regarding “the instrumentalization” by Justice Department Democrats, a way to discredit the investigations targeting former President Donald Trump.
Finally, the project includes measures “to solve our problem of uncontrollable debt”, explained Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole. In particular, it requires each new expenditure to be financed by a cut elsewhere in the budget, and plans to cancel $72 billion (€67 billion) set aside for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The White House has said President Joe Biden would veto the latter proposal if it were to pass indefinitely, on the grounds that it would cause a $115 billion deficit by passing “the rich cheat to avoid taxes”.
Defense budget cuts
According to the American media, Kevin McCarthy has made other promises, which will be especially evident during the votes on the debt ceiling. In particular, he would have agreed to freeze the budget amount for ten years and reduce military spending by 10%.
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“It has been proposed to cut billions of dollars from the defense budget, I think it’s a terrible idea”commented Sunday Republican-elect Tony Gonzales, who finally joined the Democrats on Monday.
“With Russian aggression in Ukraine, the growing Chinese threat in the Pacific (…), how are we going to be able to look our allies in the eye and ask them to increase their military budgets if America is reducing theirs? »he explained.
Especially since these cuts could weigh on aid in Kiev. “It’s all on the tableadmitted Jim Jordan, a loyal lieutenant of former President Donald Trump and rallied to Kevin McCarthy. Frankly, we have to look at the money being sent to Ukraine and wonder if there isn’t a better way to protect America. »
However, the scope of these measures is largely symbolic: laws passed in the House have no chance of passing in the Senate, which Democrats retain control of. The Republicans will therefore, above all, have an ability to bother through their power to investigate or block bills put forward by Joe Biden’s administration.