What McCarthy’s Freedom Caucus Compromises Imply

Rep. Kevin McCarthy had to compromise to win over conservative Republicans. Here are McCarthy’s significant concessions, including permitting only one member to move to resign the speaker’s chair, giving him a precarious grasp on power.

McCarthy was pronounced by a margin of 216–212 on Jan. 7. Usually, it requires 218 votes — a majority of the House — to be the speaker. If members are unavailable or vote present, that cutoff can be lowered.

McCarthy outlined his goals for the 118th Congress in a 20-minute address after the vote, including protecting the southern border, combatting “woke” brainwashing in schools, and liberating domestic power generation.

The House will vote on a rules package that contains 20 holdout Republicans’ compromises.

Some GOP strategists welcomed the rule changes as a huge triumph for the House Republicans Conference, the party group for House Republicans.


McCarthy won the gavel after 14 unsuccessful votes. McCarthy made compromises to win over recalcitrant Republicans.

Republicans think paragraph “q” of the new House rules package is a significant concession. It upholds a centuries-old norm permitting one member to remove the speaker. A “privileged resolution” trumps all other business except postponement.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) warned Thursday on Capitol Hill that members can try to unseat their speaker in a motion of no confidence “anywhere, anytime.” McCarthy needs 218 votes to remain the speaker if this motion is filed.

A motion to resign the speaker’s chair required a plurality of either party under Nancy Pelosi.

McCarthy decided to reduce the number of representatives who may move to quit the speaker’s chair from five to one. Rachel Semmel, former OMB communications director, called McCarthy “the weakest speaker in a generation.”

Most of the recalcitrant Republicans are members of the Freedom Caucus, which earned additional committee seats. McCarthy will give Freedom Caucus members extra House Rules Committee seats.

The committee sets the conditions of discussion, decides what modifications can be introduced to draft a bill, and decides what goes to the floor — or is prevented.

With additional representation, conservatives can help bring crucial modifications to the floor on their top concerns, such as government expenditures or abortion, and have more opportunities to be heard.

Time revealed that Freedom Caucus members would get four seats on the 13-member Rules panel, but did not quote a source. Politico, citing anonymous sources, said it’s three.

Recent Congresses gave the majority nine members and the minority four. McCarthy agreed to measures that empower rank-and-file members and limit the speaker’s influence.

Limiting Debt and Cost Cutting

McCarthy also agreed to replace “pay-as-you-go” standards with a “cut-as-you-go” measure. This would limit mandated expenditure rises within a five or ten-year budget timeframe.

The proposed regulations package repeals the “Gephardt Rule,” requiring a separate debt ceiling vote. The House currently sends a compromise bill to raise the debt limit when it adopts a budget package. The change gives conservatives more room to push for lower spending.

Republicans still suffer from last month’s passing of the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending measure, with Freedom Caucus members voicing the most strident opposition.

Two additional financial proposals in the proposed rules package restore a point of order against modifications to general appropriations legislation that increase net federal expenditures.

The proposed rules package also restores a three-fifths supermajority vote on raising the tax rate, a gain for republicans who oppose Washington’s tax-and-spend policies. All essential appropriations bills must have expenditure reduction account portions, per another measure.

Other compromises include requiring 72 hours before a law can be voted on and establishing panels to evaluate different concerns, including the “weaponization” of the federal government.

Republicans demanded a top-to-bottom inquiry of the FBI after the “Twitter Files” revealed the agency censored Americans’ free expression.

This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.