Get Ready to Hate the New Speaker, Part II — Even Though You Really Shouldn’t
Let me first start this post by congratulating the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson from the state of Louisiana.
After three weeks of wrangling between his fellow Republicans, they finally settled on him to be the new Speaker and leader of the slim Republican majority in the People’s House. I’m quite certain this took much longer and was much more involved than Representative Johnson or anybody thought it would be. But it is finally put to bed, and now the legislative work of the House can move forward.
This is why I come to you today and ask those who were in 100 percent support of Matt Gaetz and his resolution to vacate the chair to boot Kevin McCarthy not to do the same thing here with Speaker Johnson. The reasoning that was given of why McCarthy needed to go was because of the continuing of continuing resolutions and 33 trillion dollars in debt; neither of these things are going to change immediately under the new Speakership.
In fact, they may never change at all.
I went over some of the reasoning of why this is the case in a post I did earlier in October called:
Get Ready to Hate Whoever the Next Speaker Is
From that post…
We all need to become better students of history and become rigorous critical thinkers. Set aside the tribal emotional vapid arguments that so many people get sucked into and actually question people and their actions vigorously. If it sounds too good to be true and it rolls off the tongue too easily, lean into your questioning of it even harder than you previously had been.
I start my post off with that because I’m going to bring up some things here that I want you, the reader, to question what I’m saying with that type of curious and enlivened passion.
I don’t have any problem at all with the House of Representatives or the Senate removing or adding somebody from leadership in their individual bodies. That happens in the private sector all the time, and at one time or another, we have all bemoan the fact that the government does not work as efficiently as the private sector.
The one thing I question, though is the timing.
The GOP lost 22 days or so of trying to hammer out an extension of the budget that was extended for 45 days (and was one of the catalysts for Gaetz to toss McCarthy), and now you have even less time to work on things.
So on Friday, Johnson was quoted as saying this.
On Fox, Johnson says “I think we have to” when asked if he would have conditions on a CR to avoid a gov’t shutdown next month.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 27, 2023
The House of Representatives is tasked with creating spending bills and passing them on to the Senate, but that does not mean that the Senate has to accept those bills as they are. A lot of times, continuing resolutions are used and are just a mishmash of bills that they just go ahead and pass — sometimes with a lot of changes, sometimes with none — just to keep the federal government’s doors open and everything operating.
Once again, in my earlier piece
The End of Continuing Resolutions
This is something so common sense that it’s hard to believe that we’re still talking about it in 2023.
However, we are discussing a body politic in Washington, DC, that treats common sense like sunlight treats a vampire. They seemingly run from it as fast as they can, and this is not just Democrats but some Republicans as well as this is a common theme among all of them.
I know there was a moment within my lifetime when individual appropriation bills were still being done, and we weren’t having the hodgepodge of funding bills on top of funding bills to get something passed to keep everything moving. But this ended a very long time ago and there’s a reason why.
Individual Appropriations are much easier to scrutinize than having to go through 1,500 or 2,000 pages of something dumped on you at 2:00 in the morning.
Now this is in my opinion only my opinion is why 9 percent of Congress is totally happy with this because stuffed inside those bills are things that they can go back home to the taxpayer and say, “Look at what I did.” Ultimately every congressperson is judged on how much bacon they bring back from the slaughterhouse of Washington, DC.
Now the reason why this will not change under the new speaker is because of a little process that is hardly ever talked about called reconciliation.
The act as defined by the Congressional Budget Office:
Budget reconciliation is an expedited process for considering bills that would implement policies embodied in a Congressional budget resolution. Since 1980, the first year the process took place, many laws have been enacted through budget reconciliation—for example, the 2017 tax act (Public Law 115-97) and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2). This page shows CBO’s publications related to the reconciliation process that has occurred since the fall of 2021, pursuant to the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022 (S. Con. Res. 14). That process culminated in the enactment of P.L. 117-169 on August 22, 2022.
Every well-meaning Congressperson or Senator would love to be able to pass 12 distinct spending bills, with over a two-week span of time for members and for the public to take a look to see what’s in them; that is, to find out what is being spent in the people’s name.
In fact, I would go a step further and say that every bill that is passed needs to be separate and have clearly spelled out what previous laws they would amend or create. They need to have a committee do a full analysis on how this would affect the industry or people that the bill would be attempting to help or harm, in terms that are simple-to-read and understand.
In my previous post about hating the next Speaker, I mentioned I didn’t have a problem with the inner fight happening, but the timing was bad. This fight should have never happened 13 months before a presidential election; this should have been taken care of back in January of this year.
All the people who supported Congressman Gaetz said that the reason that McCarthy had to go was because of continuing resolutions — and because of no action about the 33 trillion dollar debt.
Well, with even less time before the November 2024 election, you have even less time to do the work. The Senate is controlled by Democrats and the White House is controlled by Democrats; so, you put anybody who sits in that Speaker chair in an impossible position to hold and maintain. You may not like that, but there is the political reality that you have to deal with — no matter how many raging Facebook posts you read.
Yet, according to my colleague Joe Cunningham, the brand new Speaker of the House is a True Conservative Speaker, and that needs to be kept in mind.
But it’s the Democrats who are losing their minds over the revelation that Johnson is a social conservative who also sided with Trump when it comes to questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election. During a floor speech Wednesday after winning the Speaker’s gavel, Johnson gave a passionate defense of his faith. He is unapologetically pro-life. He is more of a policy hawk than past Speakers (save Paul Ryan, though Johnson has ultimately proven himself more socially conservative than Ryan).
It is amusing, then, to watch Democrats freak out over Johnson’s ascension. After all, they sided with Matt Gaetz and seven other Republicans to oust Kevin McCarthy. It’s clear they had hoped to use the chaos to get a more moderate Republican into the Speaker’s chair, or just leave House Republicans in chaos for weeks on end. It is also clear, given their reaction, that they had not intended for the next Speaker to be as conservative as Johnson is.
“Johnson is polite, relatively soft-spoken, intellectual and highly principled,” Scott McKay of The Hayride, a conservative website in Louisiana, said of Johnson. And he’s not wrong. Johnson is not bombastic, but he is a strong conservative and extremely principled. The most conservative pundits in his home state – McKay and radio host Moon Griffon – are thrilled to see Johnson sitting atop the U.S. House of Representatives.
He has, even right off the bat, laid out what the next 12 months legislatively will look like.
New: Mike Johnson, in a “dear colleague” letter, lays out a legislative schedule through next December.
Also runs through plan to pass remaining approps bills, starting w/ Energy & Water this week. pic.twitter.com/tbgl7HDwW2
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 25, 2023
It’s important to keep in mind, as we wind up to the 12-month mark from the November 2024 election.
The Republicans would, of course, like to expand the majority in the House and maybe win three or four in the Senate to take over that chamber. If they have any shot at that, any more time with political stunts will make that mission even more difficult.
So, there might be some who call and complain that Mike Johnson does not do everything would do if THEY were there. Resist the temptation to hate the new Speaker because of those unrealistic expectations.