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Republicans, Be Careful What You Ask For

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It's newly elected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. It ended like it should have begun. All the action witnessed, I believed, could have and should have been played out before January 3. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe America needed to see this play out.

For a while, I was getting concerned. I was not sure that at the end of the House Speaker election we would have a fine tasting piece of sausage. I realized that making sausage (or making and passing bills) in a democracy can be ugly.

Or, was I witnessing a different kind of meat being produced, better known as a group of "hot dogs" seeking media attention and attempting to fulfill their own parochial interests? In time I saw the latter was not the case.

There was no way 20 members of Congress should be allowed to defeat the will of 202 members of Congress and force a new name to prevail for Speaker. That outcome would have been devastating to the Republican Party and would have made Democrats gleeful.

However, be careful what you ask for. Because Republicans and Democrats will actually have to legislate together. For some, I say facetiously, it will be enough to make them retire.

The bitter fight for the Speakership ended in compromises, which will change the way the House operates. Some of the big changes are hard to imagine as they have not been done in decades.

First off, we will no longer have a quasi-dictatorship, leaders cutting corners to get by. The microwave oven can be destroyed because there would be no need to reheat the sausage year after year. That means no more Continuing Resolutions, Omnibus Spending Bills, which would include nearly all of the Appropriation Bills bundled together.

Congress will now have to pass 12 separate Appropriation Bills, something not done since I served in Congress more than a quarter century ago.

We will have Regular Order in the passage of bills. Through Regular Order, often Committee chairmen were able to get all their members to support a bill on the House floor due to the full participation of members during the committee and subcommittee process.

The new changes mean we will have frequent and open debates with germane amendments being offered from Republicans and Democrats. (All part of making sausage - allowing all members of the House to participate on legislation.)

Imagine having a 10-year balanced budget develop, which legally is due by early spring in order for the spending bills to be authorized and then appropriated.

Imagine giving House members and their staff an opportunity to read 1,000-page bills. Members will have time to review a bill before voting on it. They will no longer have to follow the pattern of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi who once boasted, "We have to pass the bill to find out what is in it."

Imagine investigating the wrongs of the Biden Administration during the past two years.


On the immigration crisis, Republicans will develop a detailed plan to close the border, preventing the illegal flow of people - some good and some bad - from entering America.

We will have a return to normalcy.

No longer will members be treated as potential killers as the metal detectors from the Pelosi era have been removed from the entrance to the House floor.

The repeated voting from "your bedroom" in your PJs is over. Members of Congress will actually have to go to work every day and constituents can actually visit them again to express their views. (Note: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not allow proxy voting on Senate floor ever, nor did he have metal detectors.)

And, I am confident Speaker McCarthy will never allow a breakdown of security intelligence communication to allow a protest "at" the Capitol to become a riot "in" the Capitol.

It should be fun to see. Done right it will be good for America. Done right and America will realize the difference. Done right, despite the Democrats potentially being obstructionists, and it will put America on the "right track." It is the process that will make the product taste so good for so many.

One of the side benefits of the prolonged Speaker battle was that members were forced to talk to one another.

Let us remember, thanks to C-Span cameras, we could see Democrats and Republicans as different as Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and N.Y. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking to each other. This is after Gosar posted an anime video of him killing AOC - I'm sure he was just kidding.

We saw Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee having a conversation with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz - polar opposites.


And as a side note, it was interesting to see one Black member nominate McCarthy for Speaker, another Black Republican as a candidate for Speaker, and two other Black Republicans members observing from their seats on the House Floor. Not in about 150 years has four Black Republicans been House members together. The Republicans in the House are at a high-water mark for women and Hispanics as well.

Let's hope and pray we will see the change the 20 GOP members fought for and continue to see the strength the 202 GOP Members displayed by sticking with McCarthy, ballot after ballot, when the liberal media was hoping and waiting to see erosion in the party. It never materialized. Both GOP factions looked good - looked like warriors - but now the work begins.

Republicans, are you sure you are ready to work this hard? Americans could finally get what they have sought for decades. And who knows, if Democrats are sincere in their aspirations to improve America, it will truly be fun to watch and will be a more rewarding experience for each member of Congress as well.

Gary Franks served three terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut's 5th District. He was the first Black Republican elected to the House in nearly 60 years and New England's first Black member of the House. Host: podcast "We Speak Frankly." Author: "With God, For God, and For Country." @GaryFranks

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