Republicans unite behind fascists and approve new House rules
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters as he walks to the speaker's ceremonial office at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. | Jose Luis Magana/AP

Once again a major premise of the major media – that there is a “moderate” wing of the GOP that might be counted on to resist the party’s insurrectionists – was proven false yesterday as all but one of the 220 Republican representatives united behind the rules the extreme right crafted for Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The House approved the rules package 220 to 213, with all Democrats voting against it, despite the fact that a major part of the package was kept secret from the lawmakers even as they voted for it.

McCarthy finally took the Speaker’s gavel in the dawning hours of Saturday morning after 15 rounds of voting that happened over five days and only after he gave in to every single demand of the insurrectionist representatives who are part of the Freedom Caucus. The vote yesterday confirmed and sealed the takeover of the House by a group of fascists who, having failed in the coup they backed on January 6, 2021, have succeeded now in taking over one of the two houses of the Congress of the United States.

Their legislative coup yesterday signals the need for the mass movements of the people to step up their ongoing battle against the ongoing attempt by Republicans as a whole to kill democracy in the United States.

All the talk about how difficult it would be for McCarthy to corral his tiny majority in the House to do anything proved to be just that – a lot of talk – yesterday as the overwhelming majority of Republicans joined hands to approve rules that push the House far to the right.

The package includes the so-called Holman rule which allows the House to use spending bills, like one that would lift the debt ceiling, to defund specific programs like Social Security and Medicare. The rules allow the House to suspend or reduce the pay of federal officials and they create a new subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee whose special job it will be to expose so-called Democratic Party “weaponization” of the federal government.

That part of the rules will allow for investigation of any branch of the government that the Freedom Caucus claims is exercising its power to go after right-wing lawmakers, including those who backed the insurrection.

As right-wing Republicans praised the adoption of the new rules yesterday they did so without even knowing the full extent of the back-room promises McCarthy made to the Freedom Caucus in exchange for their support of his Speakership. Many of the concessions to the fascists, including promises of more seats on committees that control what goes to the floor of the House for a vote, were not written into the package approved yesterday. The entire Republican Party, having approved back room deals that it was not allowed to see, apparently does not take seriously at all its pledges to clean up the “swamp” it claims characterizes business in Washington. There can hardly be anything more “swampish” than approving deals that have been kept secret even from those approving the deals.

“What I’m concerned with is not just what’s written down here, ”Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the top Dem on the Rules Committee, said yesterday. ”I’m concerned with the backroom deals Speaker McCarthy made with the Freedom Caucus in exchange for their votes.”

One such deal removes all but one Democrat from the board that reviews Congressional ethics.

Under the new rules members no longer have to go through metal detectors to get into the House, making it easier to bring in all kinds of things, including guns. There is no provision in the new rules, however, for free rubber boots for members, boots that would make it easier to negotiate an ever-deepening Republican swamp.


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.