Jan 11, 2023

House Passes New Rules Package in First Test for McCarthy Transcript

House Passes New Rules Package in First Test for McCarthy Transcript
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The House passed a new rules package in the first key test for Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Read the transcript here.

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John Dickerson (00:00):

The House passed a rules package Monday night that will govern how the Chamber does its business. This routine congressional procedure that typically faces little resistance was at the heart of negotiations between new House speaker Kevin McCarthy and the 20 Republicans who nearly ended his bid for the position before it started.

McCarthy won the speaker’s gavel last week after a historic 15-ballot election. It stretched across five days. His team is now working to address concerns from more moderate Republicans.

For more on this and the new rules, I’m joined by CBS News congressional correspondent, Scott MacFarlane. Hello, Scott. Let’s talk about the Rules Committee. Normally, not a topic for evening news broadcast, but let’s talk about the rules package, why it was important and what happened with it.

Scott MacFarlane (00:48):

Yeah, the Rules Committee and its work is binding, unlike the Rules Committee my wife and I have at home for our two sons, which usually is ignored. In this case, they passed a whole set of new rules for the Republican-majority House, which makes some adjustments to what the House was previously doing.

Gone proxy voting, a pandemic-era measure in which people could vote remotely. That’s done. There’ll be no more of those remote Zoom congressional hearings. But some of the more contentious items that were ironed out over the past few days include some provisions which at the end of the road could make it easier to cut the federal budget, could make it easier to investigate the Biden administration, requires 72-hours warning before legislation hits the floor for votes in the US House.

More to the end of the concerns, though, John, there was concern about process here, that there was something negotiated with that group of defectors in the House speakers vote, the Republicans who refused to vote for Kevin McCarthy initially, that may not be in black and white for everybody to read. A concern about process or things happening in the dark of night. Clearly, though, those concerns have evaporated, and nearly party line vote on Monday night to pass those rules, they are now firm in the US House.

John Dickerson (02:03):

That doesn’t mean the dysfunction is gone. It doesn’t mean that House speaker McCarthy has a bigger margin than he did before, though it is a big deal. Some people thought they wouldn’t even be able to agree on a rules package, but the next worry for a lot of people is whether the majority in the House is going to raise the debt ceiling when that comes sometime, maybe at the end of the summer. Explain, help people understand how… Because that was another thing that these dissenters were concerned about and that they may have influence over as that debate over raising the debt ceiling comes up. Explain a little bit how that might get troublesome for McCarthy.

Scott MacFarlane (02:41):

That’s not just a concern, John. That’s a profound concern that could define this year in the US Congress. Among those who were withholding their votes for Kevin McCarthy initially last week are members who think the Congress should negotiate something, some concessions, some deal before they raise the debt ceiling as they’re required to do this year. Even flirting with the idea of not raising the debt ceiling can cause a seismic event to the US economy. A default could cause a cataclysmic event to the US economy. And Democrats in 2011 faced this same prospect from a Republican House, this same trajectory towards a possible default because they insist on negotiating over the debt ceiling.

It’s unclear how this is going to play out, but it’s going to play out over the next few months and it could be the storyline of this US Congress.

John Dickerson (03:34):

And finally, Scott, a complaint was filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission against Congressman George Santos, who has admitted to fabricating key details of his biography. How serious is that complaint?

Scott MacFarlane (03:48):

This complaint could lead to an investigation by the Federal Election Commission. Add that to the list of investigations ongoing against embattled Congressman George Santos of Long Island. A Long Island district attorney is looking into him.

The Brazilian authorities are looking into him tied to a 2008 fraud case. Seems likely there’ll be a House Ethics Committee review as well. The backstory here is that Santos is accused of lying about his life story, about his education, his work, his grandparents’ connection to surviving the Holocaust. Now, there are questions about the money that went into his campaign, including a $700,000 loan, John, he gave himself.

John Dickerson (04:26):

Scott McFarland on Capitol Hill. Thank you, Scott.

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