Insurrectionists who failed in 2021 took over the House last Friday
Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., left, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., listen to the 14th vote in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. All three were supporters of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection that failed and all three are now among those insurrectionists who have successfully taken control of the House of Representatives. | Alex Brandon/AP

WASHINGTON – With an incredible 15-ballot election of Kevin McCarthy as House speaker the insurrectionists who failed to pull off their Jan.6, 2021 coup at the Capitol managed to take over the House of Representatives last Friday and are planning to cement their success with passage of new rules this week.

Those rules will give the fascists the power to remove the Speaker and even more important to determine what bills do or do not come up for a vote in the House.

“The spectacle on the House floor last week was not so much a sign of McCarthy’s weakness as a sign of the strength of the fascist right – they set the agenda,” Joe Sims, co-chair of the Communist Party told People’s World. Sims warned about dismissing the fascist danger and called for a people’s movement focused on protecting critical needs such as social security, worker rights, and abortion rights.

The rules McCarthy agreed to in exchange for support from the fascist lawmakers would prevent the handful of Republicans in Democratic-leaning districts, who might want to compromise with Democrats and not kill things like Social Security, from even getting a chance to vote. The outrageous rules that say one member is enough to schedule a vote to remove the Speaker apply only to Republicans, not to Democrats or independents.

The rules will enable the fascists in the House to hold seniors and all Americans hostage by preventing the raising of the debt ceiling thereby holding up approval of funds for Medicare and Social Security.

Raising the debt ceiling does not involve additional spending. All it does is allow the government to pay bills it has already incurred. The right-wing scheme to prevent the raising of the ceiling would crash the economy, kill jobs for many millions and send economic shock waves around the world.

To become speaker and win over skeptics, McCarthy made concessions to a group of fascist Republican lawmakers who supported the insurrection exactly two years before last Friday, when they voted him in as Speaker. While much of the media described the chaos around the 15 ballots that it took McCarthy to ascend to the position of Speaker as an example of Republican paralysis they failed to mention how chaos and “clown shows” are the stock in trade of fascists. What happened on Friday was not a simple “clown show” and display of Republican incompetence. It was a successful power grab by the insurrectionists, a continuation of their coup that began years earlier.

This was reflected in McCarthy’s disgusting bowing and scraping to Trump after he got the votes he needed. He profusely thanked Trump who he said was “with me all along.”

The fascists cannot tell voters what they really want so they stir up chaos and then present themselves as the solution to the chaos they themselves cause. The Nazis did this in Germany in the 20th century. They were described by many as “crazy” when in fact they were “crazy like a fox,” using their chaos, including the burning of the Reichstag, to ascend to power.

The media also failed to point out how the “crazies” are not just some type of phenomena out there on their own. People like the Koch brothers, the fossil fuel companies, the armaments makers and many other corporations – including monster retailers – are funding them.

On Sunday, at least two so called “moderate” Republicans expressed their reservations about supporting the rules package, citing what they described as secret deals and the disproportionate power potentially being handed out to a group of 20 “conservatives.” They avoided describing them as the insurrectionists that they are.

The concessions McCarthy made allow a single Republican-only lawmaker to initiate a vote to remove him as speaker and curtail government spending on social programs in addition to Social Security and Medicare. The McCarthy concessions give the insurrectionists and the Freedom Caucus more seats on the committee that decides which legislation reaches the House floor.

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., a strong McCarthy supporter, said she currently is “on the fence” about the proposed rules.

“I like the rules package,” Mace said, in reference to what has been released publicly. “What I don’t support is a small number of people trying to get a deal done or deals done for themselves in private, in secret.”

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said he was an outright “no” against the rules package.

Democrats are expected to be united against the package. They missed their chance to act at the end of 2022, however, and could have prevented the coming disaster had they voted to eliminate consideration of the debt ceiling when it comes to government spending. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires such a ceiling, particularly one that has to be voted on by Congress.

It is another example of the destructive role played for the last two years by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Their refusal to end the filibuster blocked Dems from ending the debt limit debacle once and for all. Some legal experts have said the president has the power to raise the limit without even going to Congress and that the limit itself may be unconstitutional.

President Biden, however, raised concern among progressives this weekend when he said he opposed ending the debt limit as something that would be “irresponsible.” Progressives of course note that holding Americans and the entire economy hostage in order to destroy Social Security and Medicare are the real irresponsible moves here.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a member of the Freedom Caucus who is expected to lead the House Judiciary Committee, defended the concessions McCarthy made and said he believes the rules package will get enough Republican support to pass. He insisted that the agreements will help ensure broader representation on committees and will curtail “unfettered government spending.”

“We’ll see tomorrow,” he said Sunday, but “I think we’ll get the 218 votes needed to pass the rules package.”

“Our general concern is that the dysfunction — that was historic — that we saw this week is not at an end, it’s just the beginning,” said House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

The White House has rejected Republican calls to slash spending in return for an increase in the federal government’s borrowing authority. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre went so far on Sunday as to call House Republicans’ likely demands “hostage taking” that would risk default, an event that could trigger an economic crisis.

“Congress is going to need to raise the debt limit without — without — conditions and it’s just that simple,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Joe Biden flew to Texas. “Attempts to exploit the debt ceiling as leverage will not work. There will be no hostage taking.”

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, one of the 20 who initially voted against McCarthy before throwing his support behind the Californian, said he and other conservatives will be holding their position that there should be spending cuts in a debt ceiling bill. Asked whether he would exercise members’ new authority and unilaterally initiate a vote to remove the speaker if McCarthy doesn’t ultimately agree, Roy offered a warning.

“I’m not going to play the ‘what if’ games on how we’re going to use the tools of the House to make sure that we enforce the terms of the agreement, but we will use the tools of the House to enforce the terms of the agreement,” Roy said.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.