By Spencer M. ’25
Over the past few weeks, the House of Representatives has descended into chaos, as a small group of far-right representatives had hijacked the electoral process, confounding both parties. Even after the large-scale agreement has been made and the “Freedom Caucus” has left the national spotlight, questions remain unanswered. What is next? What concessions did the elected speaker (Kevin McCarthy, a Republican of California) make to guarantee his speakership and the power that comes with it? During the chaotic scene on the house floor, featuring a near fist fight and what seemed to be frequent calls from Former President Donald Trump, a full-on coup took place in the Republican Party. It took a historic fifteen voting attempts to finally elect Kevin McCarthy as the Speaker of the House. The first election attempts appeared hopeless and McCarthy’s chance at speakership looked dim, but as the days of negotiations took place votes began shifting to his side. Many of the members who repeatedly voted against McCarthy for speakership are members of what’s known as the “Freedom Caucus.”
According to the Pew Research Center, “More broadly, the caucus wants power shifted away from the leadership.” These are members who want to sow chaos in the systems of our government – this was their newest stunt. However, the Caucus was rewarded for their disruptive actions by receiving large concessions from the new Speaker. According to a recent CNN article, some of the concessions McCarthy made are “more Freedom Caucus representation on committees, including the powerful House Rules Committee. […] Any member can call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair – this is significant because it would make it much easier than it is currently to trigger what is effectively a no-confidence vote in the speaker.”
The Speaker has ironically gutted his own power to get some figment of power that remains rather than stepping aside and letting a moderate work with Democrats. The underlying fact that neither party was able to prioritize people over political statements and cross party lines is concerning and does not give a lot of confidence in the House of Representatives going forward.
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