McCarthy forced right as conservatives push priorities

 June 29, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) looked far more conservative as minority leader than he does now as Speaker, but House GOP conservatives are managing to successfully push him to the right on a number of issues including future spending and the impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland.

McCarthy has been speaker for six months and has repeatedly butted heads with the conservative House Freedom Caucus and some of its members during that time.

Mostly, he has gotten his way and remained speaker despite a provision that any member could challenge his leadership at any time.

After the contentious debt ceiling agreement in which Democrats seemed to get 90% of what they wanted, however, there was a bit of a rebellion among conservatives.


They've gotten McCarthy to back spending cuts for next year that are even deeper than those agreed to in the debt ceiling agreement, and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) nearly forced a floor vote on impeaching President Joe Biden over failures at the border.

The impeachment resolution went to committee, but Boebert is still saying she could bring the vote up again if the committees seem to be dragging their feet.

Another major concession to conservatives happened Tuesday, when McCarthy tweeted, “If the allegations from the IRS whistleblowers are proven true through House Republican investigations, we will begin an impeachment inquiry on Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland,

McCarthy had previously said he didn't expect to do anything with impeachments this year, but several whistleblowers have alleged that Garland lied under oath about how strongly the DOJ pursued Hunter Biden and his father, the president.

Garland lied

Garland told Congress that the DOJ had the full ability to investigate and bring any charges they saw fit, but the whistleblowers said they and others were prevented from exploring Hunter Biden's overseas business connections and anything that might have implicated Joe Biden.

Besides allegedly lying to Congress, Garland also appears to have obstructed justice in the investigations if the whistleblower allegations are true.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said he also wants the House to investigate Homeland Security head Alexandro Mayorkas in addition to continuing to look into Hunter and Joe Biden.

“We gotta look into [Alejandro] Mayorkas,” Roy said Monday. “We gotta look into Biden himself. We gotta look into Hunter Biden. … The American people deserve an administration that is not above the law and lawless.”

“It’s hard to keep up with it all,” he admitted during a radio interview.

He's not the first

The move to the right has Democrats dismayed and moderate Republicans shaking their heads, at least according to The Hill's Mike Lillis, who said McCarthy has been "compelled" to go along with more conservative plans and has "conceded" to the far right.

Where was that when former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) repeatedly capitulated to the most extreme members of her party and practically let "the squad" of Democratic socialists run her agenda?

What about when Biden abandoned any semblance of being a moderate Democrat after he was elected and basically signed his agenda over to the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) after agreeing to give him input to end a 2020 nomination stalemate?

McCarthy, like all party leaders, has to balance the priorities of his entire party and try to find areas of agreement. For all his posturing, a compromise like the debt ceiling agreement is the most likely outcome anyway in such a divided government as we have now, and moderates (and realists) know it.

“When it’s all said and done, you’re gonna end up with the debt ceiling agreement,” centrist Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) said. “Because the Senate’s not gonna go more conservative, and we’re not gonna let them spend more.”

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