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Here’s how McCarthy’s concessions will transform the House of Representatives  

Many Americans were shocked to learn this month about the concentrated power in the House of Representatives that undermines our constitutional republic. Since 2016, the Speaker of the House has allowed zero votes on floor-offered amendments, unless they were pre-screened. Instead, members of Congress were forced to vote “yes” or “no” on legislation, often being forced to swallow wasteful, pork-ridden provisions that were buried inside bills.  

This backwards process has led Congress to pass massive trillion dollar omnibus bills —sometimes as long as 4,000 pages — right before Christmas when many members are eager to fly home to be with their families. 

This endless cycle of omnibus spending has led America’s economy to be headed towards a fiscal cliff. Inflation may have slowed last month, but prices still have increased by 6.5 percent over the last 12 months — far past the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent for a healthy economy. 

And then there is our national debt, which now stands at more than $31 trillion. That means that as of today each taxpayer is on the hook for more than $246,000. If we continue this nasty habit of spending money we don’t have, economists predict our national debt will hit $41 trillion by 2026. According to the Congressional Budget Office, we are expected to be spending a trillion dollars annually just in interest—money flushed down the toilet—by the end of this decade.   

With the next Speaker of the House hanging in the balance and a slim majority, there was no better time than now for economic conservatives to change how Congress operates and put an end to the seemingly perpetual cycle of reckless omnibus spending.  

One of the few things that all Americans can agree on is that Washington is broken. I said throughout my campaign that I was not just running for Congress, but I was running to reform Congress.  

I used to work for the late Sen. Dr. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Back when he was in the House under the “Contract with America,” any member of Congress could amend spending bills from the floor and go after ridiculous pork hidden in bills. 

I want to return Congress to those days, which happens to be the last time America had a balanced budget.  

That is why I was proud to join the “tenacious twenty” who demanded change to the status quo during the Speaker election of Kevin McCarthy.  

The results were nothing short of transformative. In fact, one member who has been in Congress for the past 10 years remarked to me that these concessions will result in the biggest positive changes in Washington he has seen since he has been there.  

Here are the details of the new Republican rules package and some other conservative concessions that the “tenacious twenty,” using their leverage in negotiations, helped bring about: 

  • Commits the House to a process allowing rank-and-file members to offer spending cut amendments from the floor on all general appropriation bills. No floor derived amendments have been allowed under an “open rule” in six years which has left members unable to fully legislate but only vote “yes” or “no” on bills that could be majorly improved.  
  • Requires single subject bills instead of bills purposefully loaded with mixed subjects designed to camouflage bad provisions. 
  • Creates a framework that forces Congress back to setting a budget and utilizing appropriations bills, instead of continuing reliance on omnibus bills.  
  • Grants a full 72 hours minimum to members to read bills. 
  • Commits the House to balancing the budget in 10 years. A debt ceiling increase must be tied to spending cuts. 

As Scottish historian and professor Alexander Tytler once said, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.”  

Well, right now our nation is in grave danger. I have long believed that economic security is national security and our years of reckless spending have made us vulnerable.   

I believe that these rule changes and conservative concessions are the first step to getting our country back on track and ensuring our republic remains for our children and grandchildren.   

Josh Brecheen is a freshman member representing Oklahoma’s 2nd District.  

Tags budget deficit House rules package House Speaker vote Kevin McCarthy national debt Tom Coburn

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