US House approves new rules package that weakens Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Washington, Jan 9 (EFE).- The United States House of Representatives on Monday approved an internal rules package that weaken the position of newly elected Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The bill on the rules that will govern House operations was passed with 220 Republicans voting in its favor and only one against, along with all 213 Democrats.

Republican McCarthy became House speaker on Friday after 15 rounds of voting, in which a small group of his own party’s lawmakers blocked his victory.

To secure the votes of the hardline conservatives who opposed his candidacy and put an end to the blockade, McCarthy made a series of concessions, including one that allows just one lawmaker to force a vote to remove him as speaker.

The package also includes measures to make it easier for lawmakers to propose amendments to any legislation under discussion.

It also allows amendments to cut spending in appropriation bills by reducing the salary of specific federal officials or of certain programs, to a single dollar, which is equivalent to withdrawing their funding.

This measure, as well as the provision to oust the speaker, already existed before the Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, took control of the body in 2019.

McCarthy issued a statement shortly after the approval of the package.

“Congress has been broken for a long time. Over the years, a concentration of power within the Speaker’s Office has kept lawmakers on the sidelines from participating in the legislative process that would impact their communities,” he said.

“Lawmaking should be open to all Members, not just a select few, so that the best ideas win… That’s what this rules package reflects,” he added.

For her part, US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also speaker of the Senate, criticized that the first law that the Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the lower house, intended to approve rescinds the increase in funding that the previous Congress had provided the Internal Revenue Service under the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious spending package that includes millions of dollars for green financing.

“For decades, some of our nation’s wealthiest individuals and richest corporations have failed to pay what they owe in taxes,” Harris said, highlighting her administration’s efforts to increase contributions from the highest income earners. EFE


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