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AFF Sentinel V20#50-Speaker Impossible

Obviously, They Could Not Run a Business or A Trade Association

Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 10/24/23

After wading through a field of eight candidates -- a ninth dropped out before voting began -- with a voting process dropping the lowest vote total after each round, the House Republicans had a speaker candidate. Rep. Tom Emmer from Minnesota.

But a confirming vote after that showed Emmer could not get a couple dozen holdouts to vote for him and he dropped out. He had voted to certify the election in 2020 and voted in favor of same-sex marriage and those two votes alone certified him as not really conservative, a number said.

So, they were back to square one. As one member said early Tuesday, members want someone who agrees with them on everything and that’s not going to happen. Tuesday might, someone else said the same thing, showing the conference hadn’t learned anything still.

We think the conference needs to reflect on some key items. For one, selecting a Speaker doesn’t mean selecting a dictator and, therefore, that certain bills would be guaranteed to become law. The Speaker has one vote and passage takes a vote of the whole conference. True, the Speaker has power over what legislation is presented but some rules can be lined out to give some assurances that key things will get attention.

The Speaker has big power over where money for campaigning is directed. But again, some rules should be possible to keep things from becoming a vindictive, nasty process like the power Rep. Nancy Pelosi wielded over House finances.

People are policy as political pundits say but things can be shaped by rules and process. It was a stupid rule letting one member call declaring the chair to be vacant, for example, that started all this mess in the first place.

Perhaps the conference should start not with candidates, but with primary issues, with an agenda. An approach to reduce and control spending, via getting 12 spending bills out the door pronto; an approach on aid to Israel and Ukraine; one on the border crisis; one on regulatory reform; could be lined out in general terms as priorities for a new speaker. Candidates would have to agree to pursue those issues in order and then progress on to a list of other priorities.

That would reduce some of the fears that key things will or will not be dealt with by a new Speaker. The details would likely get ugly but at least the most important issues would be getting the debate and attention they need instead of focusing solely on personalities and settling on no leader at all.

Actually, Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama forwarded a set of Palmer's Principles before Tuesday’s early voting along those lines, procedural in nature but cleverly designed to force some discipline on the House. They included prohibiting the House from considering any other legislation if they had not passed all 12 appropriations bills by June 30. Then, no other legislation sent over from the Senate could be considered if the Senate had not passed the appropriations bills by July 30. The House could not recess after July 31st if it had still not passed their appropriations bills.

Palmer’s Principles continued on spending, holding that with a national debt over $33 trillion, the government needs to actually cut spending, not just slow the rate of growth.

Palmer, with a business background, public policy non-profit background in Alabama, the Republican Policy Committee in Congress, obviously understands the nuts and bolts problems of policy and spending mechanisms in Washington.

If all the appropriations bills were still not finished by Sept. 30, there would be an automatic Continuing Resolution until the following April.

Palmer’s Principles make so much sense it must have sent shockwaves through the conference that someone could put such things down on paper. No wonder they bounced him from the slate of eight early in the elimination rounds. Such discipline, with serious repercussions built in, would spark a revolution in Congress.

Late Tuesday night, after eliminating some new names that couldn’t garner many votes, the conference narrowed it down to two members who were also in the first batch Tuesday morning: Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida and Mike Johnson of Louisiana. After some more closed door meetings, finally Johnson won (?) the next turn in the barrel, likely facing a vote Wednesday.

With Johnson winning the vote Tuesday, it was reported there were still 44 members voting for “Other.”

Actually, we like a close confidante’s idea to solve this impasse: bring in a wise, experienced, politically savvy veteran House members would be hesitant to argue with, for at least a few months to get things going.

Could anyone successfully twist Newt’s arm?

Contact info for House members:

Edi. Note: Picture below courtesy beef Check off).


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