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Burning down the House

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The most practically significant concession Kevin McCarthy made to get his lusted-for Speakership involves the enormously important role the House Rules Committee plays in advancing legislation:

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the most recent Rules Committee chair, said that putting three Freedom Caucus members on the panel, which is typically split 7 to 4 between the parties, could thwart the new speaker’s ambitions.

“The reason these people want to be on the Rules Committee is they want to screw things up for McCarthy. They want to micromanage every single thing that he brings to the floor,” McGovern said. “He has given everything away, including his dignity, to try to become speaker. And if he becomes speaker, his nightmares just begin.”

“He thinks this is bad — what he’s going through right now? He ain’t seen nothing yet, based on what he’s giving away.”

Some in the GOP said there may be a way to prevent the Rules Committee from becoming a choke point for legislation most of the conference supports.

“Theoretically, you can accommodate that through increasing the size of the committee,” said Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev. “Everything’s possible.”

Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Fla., said he isn’t worried about any one person being able to force a vote to vacate the speaker’s chair. “The reality is five Republicans right now can stop everything,” he said.

He said the rules would decentralize decision-making in the caucus. “It’s going to be difficult,” he said, while defending it as a better process than the speaker making all the decisions.

This is logical culmination of many decades of right wing propaganda about how “the government” is simply a bad thing. And the Republican party has been devolving toward this anarchic moment since Ronald Reagan nearly won the GOP nomination against a sitting president in 1976.

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