With the drawn-out drama of choosing a Republican leader behind them, the GOP-controlled House got to work this week. Among the overnight changes, which are numerous, lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill to represent their districts and are no longer allowed to vote by proxy back at home. The gallery is now reopened for the public after being shut down in March 2020 – nearly three years ago – during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In one floor vote this week, the U.S. House addressed the hiring of 87,000 IRS agents which was budgeted in the Inflation Reduction Act. The vote Monday evening to repeal funding of the new hirings passed 221-210. In a related bill, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga) introduced the Fair Tax Act Wednesday that would eliminate the federal income tax and payroll tax, and abolish the IRS.
The freedom to bring the IRS resolution and the Fair Tax Act to the floor for votes was part of the back-and-forth negotiations between Freedom Caucus members, who withstood immense pressure from their own party, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who needed their votes to become Speaker. Other demands included voting on a balanced budget, addressing border security, and allowing lawmakers to read new bills for 72 hours before voting on them.
In other floor action this week, a House resolution was set for a vote today, Wednesday, to condemn the string of attacks – most of them still unsolved – on pro-life activists that began in early summer and are still happening.
“This is a very important piece of legislation,” resolution co-sponsor Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La) told the Jenna Ellis radio show. “What we’re doing today is condemning the attacks that have been committed against pro-life facilities, and groups, and churches, in the wake of the Dobbs opinion.”
AFN has pointed out many of those attacks meet the legal definition of domestic terrorism, since their purpose is to intimidate and threaten others, but the U.S. Department of Justice has yet to announce any arrests after 100-plus incidents across the country.
In the radio interview, Johnson raised that issue, too.
“The federal government has done nothing about it,” he said, “and it is time we take a stand.”
In that same radio interview, Rep. Johnson said House Republicans have created two new select committees: One will investigate the “weaponization” of the federal government against the American people, he said, and the second will investigate China’s threats to the United States.
In his new role as House Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy followed through on a promise by booting three prominent Democrats – Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar – from their respective committees. Omar was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Schiff and Swalwell were removed from the House Intelligence Committee.
“Swalwell can’t get a security clearance in the private sector. I’m not going to give him a government security clearance,” McCarthy told reporters Monday. “Schiff has lied to the American public. We will not allow him to be on the Intel Committee either.”
McCarthy's action not only follows through on a promise made months ago, says conservative activist Gary Bauer, but it comes after Nancy Pelosi booted Republicans from committee assignments for political purposes. So it makes "no sense at all," he says, for Republicans to worry about Democrats retaliating later.
Republicans and conservatives are "sick" of GOP leaders insisting they act like some noble, rule-abiding gentlemen when they are in power, when the Left has no problem doing what it wants to please its voters when it gains power, Bauer insists.
Reacting to a week of changes on Capitol Hill, Washington Times columnist Robert Knight tells AFN the Marxist radicals who enjoyed political power under Nancy Pelosi have been swept aside by the Republican majority.
“And instead of them we have Jim Jordan. We have Chip Roy,” he says. “We have other very sound conservatives who are limited-government conservatives, social conservatives who are pro-life. This is a sea change."
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from Gary Bauer.