House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), fresh off a bruising battle with GOP rebels that ultimately led to him grasping the gavel, now has the opportunity to give ‘payback’ to the Democratic Party over its behavior last Congress.
McCarthy now has the ability to follow through on a vow he made a year ago, when he said that he would strip three Democrat firebrands of their committee assignments, should the GOP take control of the House.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, McCarthy laid out his plan to block them from coming back onto their influential committees.
“The Democrats have created a new thing where they’re picking and choosing who can be on committees,” McCarthy said. “Never in the history [of Congress] have you had the majority tell the minority who can be on committee. But this new standard which these Democrats have voted for—if Eric Swalwell cannot get a security clearance in the private sector, there is no reason why he should be given one to be on Intel or Homeland Security. He will not be serving there.”
As McCarthy indicated in the interview, the Democrats set the “standard” by stripping Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) of their committee assignments.
McCarthy also said he will remove Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Ilhan Omar should not be serving on Foreign Affairs,” McCarthy said. “This is a new level of what the Democrats have done.”
In addition, McCarthy said he would also prevent Adam Schiff (D-CA) from serving on the Intelligence Committee.
“You look at Adam Schiff—he should not be serving on Intel when he has openly, knowingly now used a fake dossier, lied to the American public in the process and doesn’t have any ill will [and] says he wants to continue to do it,” McCarthy said. “We’re going to reshape—think about what happened in Afghanistan. Why did Afghanistan collapse so fast? Was the Intel Committee under Adam Schiff focused on impeachment and not on the safety of America? Why are people coming across the border that are on a terrorist watch list? What are they doing about it? Their own members on that committee say it’s not happening when it’s true. We need to have an Intel Committee that looks at what’s happening around the world and keeps America safe. It should do exactly what it was created [to do]—overseeing of our agencies and others. We’re going to hold people to a higher standard in the process if they want to be on the Intel Committee and the training to be a part of it. Take the politics out of it.”
The current House Speaker is Kevin McCarthy, while the Majoriy Leader is Steve Scalise (R-LA). But less widely known and directly relevant to the GOP’s House committee assignments, the Conference Chair is Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Conference Vice Chair is Mike Johnson (R-LA), the Conference Secretary is Lisa McClain (R-MI), and the Campaign Committee Chairman is Richard Hudson (R-NC).
The House has a procedure for selecting committee assignments that varies by party.
“House rules provide that each party caucus or conference determines its members’ committee assignments. For House Republicans, a steering committee composed of allies of Republican leadership determines the assignment of committee chairs and ranking members. Committee leadership for Democrats is generally secured by active campaigns amongst colleagues,” the Gibson Dunn website notes.
As explained in a Fox News story in 2022, there is procedure that Speaker McCarthy can turn to in order to block the three radical Democrats from being assigned certain committees.
“One way of stopping these appointments is to have Republicans vote down any resolution that would place any of the three Democrats onto a committee where McCarthy does not want them,” the story notes.
“However, even if Republicans are divided on whether to carry out this punishment, McCarthy can still block the resolution from coming to the floor until Democrats relent and pull the assignments,” the report continued. “Democrats have little recourse to fight against such tactics, given the extensive powers available to the majority party in the House.”
The McCarthy-led House has brought four House Resolutions to the floor: Electing officers, Inform the Senate of a quorum and the election of the Speaker and the Clerk, authorizing the Speaker to appoint a committee to notify the president of the assembly of Congress, and authorizing the Clerk to inform the President of the election of the Speaker and the Clerk.
There is one bill that is expected to be brought first to the House floor: Defunding the Internal Revenue Service to scale back its intention to hire nearly 87,000 new agents and employees.
McCarthy’s ability to follow through on his promise to strip the three radical Democrats of their committee assignments will provide an excellent early test of his leadership.
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.