House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) endured multiple ballots over four days, as well as made several major concessions through days of negotiations to win over the support of conservative opponents, in order to obtain his current leadership position.
Now President Joe Biden’s White House is accusing McCarthy of making an unknown number of “secret agreements” with various House Republican members in order to secure their support for his speakership bid, Fox News reported.
The insinuation that McCarthy hasn’t been forthcoming and needs to immediately “come clean” with the American people is awfully rich coming from the Biden White House that is itself under heavy and sustained scrutiny for its own lack of transparency, particularly with regard to the recent revelations that Biden had likely unlawfully retained possession of classified documents following his time as vice president in the Obama administration.
Accusations from the White House
Politico reported that it received an advance copy of an accusatory statement against Speaker McCarthy from White House spokesman Andrew Bates, who serves as the Biden administration’s senior communications adviser for strategic response.
“An unprecedented tax hike on the middle class and a national abortion ban are just a glimpse of the secret, backroom deals Speaker McCarthy made with extreme MAGA members to end this month’s chaotic elections and claim the gavel,” Bates said. “It is well past time for Speaker McCarthy and the ultra MAGA Republican House members to come out of the dark and tell the American people, in full, what they decided in secret.”
“The few agreements we know about would fundamentally reshape our economy in a devastating way for working families and criminalize women for making their own health care decisions,” the statement continued. “They’re also planning to plunge the economy into chaos and take millions of American jobs and 401k plans hostage unless they can cut Medicare.”
“What other hidden bargains did Speaker McCarthy make behind closed doors with the most extreme, ultra MAGA members of the House Republican conference?” Bates added. “The American people have a right to know — now — which is why we are calling on him to make every single one of them public immediately.”
Politico noted that McCarthy’s office declined to comment in response to these new accusations from the White House, but for what it is worth, McCarthy had previously responded to similar accusations from Democrats and the media last week when he stated plainly, “There’s not a side deal to anything.”
Major rule change on process to remove Speaker
To be sure, a deal was reached between McCarthy and most of the roughly 20 House Republicans who had initially staunchly opposed his bid to be Speaker, and while it doesn’t appear that a full written agreement has been publicly released, many of the most significant terms of the arrangement have already been revealed, according to NPR.
First and foremost was a reversion to an old rule that had been in place prior to being changed under the tenure of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with regard to what it takes for a motion to “vacate the chair” and remove the current House Speaker.
Under Pelosi, it had required a majority of members of the majority party to start the process for a “no confidence” vote, but now, as it was before Pelosi, a single member can make a motion to begin that process, though it would still take a majority of the entire House to remove a sitting Speaker from that role.
Other major terms of deal already revealed
Per NPR, another significant term of the deal included the formation of a special committee to investigate the “weaponization” of federal agencies against the American people.
Other concessions included a 72-hour window for members to read legislation prior to any votes, as well as commitments to vote on specific pieces of legislation and reduce federal spending, as well as to vote on individual appropriations bills instead of massive omnibus spending packages. Still other parts of the agreement included guarantees that conservative members of the House GOP would be assigned seats on some of the most influential and powerful agenda-setting House committees.
It would be nice if a full written agreement containing all of the terms that were agreed upon were to be released to the public, but the Biden White House, given its own less-than-stellar record in terms of transparency with the American people.