In what can only be described as a necessary, yet colossal waste of time spanning over ninety minutes, the 118th Congress met in its first session today, on January 8th, 2023. One thing this day revealed to the public, is that a new Congress holds the same inabilities and inaction as its predecessor. these include the same alliances with the executive branch and its bureaucracies over the interests of the people, the same symptom that plagued much of the failed majoritarian legislation during the 117th Congress. The difference seen this time was populist Republican Representatives willing to put their public reputations on the line, in order to establish needed changes within House policy, and the increasing prevalence of federal bills used as political weapons targeted against the people. While it’s commendable that nineteen Congressmen were willing to stand their ground independently against the majority for the beliefs of those they represent, it resulted in gridlock during Congress’s first established quorum.
The Republicans nominated Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, while across the aisle, the Democrats nominated Hakeem Jefferies as Speaker. To win, a candidate must receive 218 votes, just over half of the 435 Representatives. Any other Speaker who received a vote outside of these nominations would ultimately contribute to gridlock, as the majority had already nominated McCarthy.
By the end of the vote, Hakeem Jefferies of New York received 212, shy of six votes of the majority, while McCarthy received 203 votes with nineteen members of congress defecting on their votes. In the 118th Congress, the Democrats have 213 elected Representatives, while the Republicans have 222 elected Representatives. In order for Hakeem Jefferies to have won he would need five votes from the opposing Republican party, whereas McCarthy would need to ensure support from nearly the entire Republican party minus four votes. Instead of coming up short four votes, McCarthy fell behind fifteen votes, with the Andy Biggs caucus receiving 9 votes from Republicans.
How the 118th Congress Began
After President of Congress Kamala Harris swore in the new Senators, Congress proceeded to establish a quorum, whose presence was called upon by Senator Chuck Schumer. By the time this was achieved, nearly fourty minutes had passed into Congress. This would be understandable had there been an accomplishment to be attained during its first order of business.
“Bang the gavel” softly states a voice cutting through the microphone, just as the pounding sound of a gavel can be heard. “A quorum is present” announced Vice President Kamala Harris.
Next, Congress proceeded to deliver Leadership Remarks, allowing Senators to speak up to ten minutes in length. It appeared evident that the Senators held far more interest in their speeches than addressing the need to achieve political order within their own party, and in the best interests of the people and their tax dollars. “Congress must do something. Inaction is not an option” proclaimed Senator John Cornyn, yet inaction is exactly what would be achieved in the first day of opening Congress. While his speech was powerful, as were the other Senators, words during Congressional sessions are far different than what occurs behind the scenes, to which the public have no control over.
“As we begin the 118th Congress, this Senate Democratic majority enters the new year in a stronger position than anyone ever expected,” boasted Schumer. After an entire day wasted without producing action beyond gridlock, the expectations of strength have already begun to wean.
As Chuck Schumer’s leadership speech continued, his intent became evident despite his seemingly innocuous framing. Senator Schumer continued to praise his Democratic peers, and most important his written speech, bringing awareness to himself, boasting that aside from accomplishing the Congressional tasks at hand, he was “proud to be making some history of my own today.” In the end, Congress would fail to make any sort of history beyond its state of gridlock.. He described Congress’s responsibility as “awesome in the Biblical sense” the kind “that would cause the angels to tremble before God.” Schumer cited the only obstacle that needed to be overcome would be a divided government in Congress, framing it as if it were on the Republicans purely to avoid legislative inaction This political tactic remains historically used by Democrats and far-left progressives to pass radical legislation without public knowledge, congressional opposition, or partisan intervention on behalf of the Residents from the districts which they represent.
Mitch McConnell then took the Floor to discuss his own achievements. McConnell stated that the second greatest achievement of his career, beyond serving his state of Kentucky, was the trust that his fellow republican senators had placed in him to lead their diverse conference and “help them achieve their goals.” This again reveals where the actions of Congress resided, evidently in themselves and their own interests. McConnell stands so far removed from the needs of America that one must consider what maleficent forces sway influence to even consider him for re-election.
Overall, this was a historic day for U.S. Congress as Senator Patty Murray was sworn in as President Pro Tem, becoming the first woman in history of the Senate to hold this title. Mitch McConnell became the longest-serving party leader in the history of the chamber, serving in nine Congresses. Chuck Schumer became the longest-serving senator of New York, and the first New Yorker elected to the Senate five times. The people could not be placed further from the decision, as both the House of Representatives and the Senate continue to receive their paychecks now that the spending bill was voted on, passing with flying colors. We now exist in a time where Politicians. themselves must initiate a strike in order to produce a change in archaic policy. While the majority secured their own vote in the matter, the body of Congress failed to ensure continuity in their efforts, much like the earmarks in the appropriation bills and nefarious collusion when enabling pork barrel policies.
Senators proceeded to continue their Leadership Remarks on the Floor. While Congress strives to pick the perfect candidate for the position as House Speaker, in the end indecision equates to inaction. The American People care far more about producing real visible change in our nation, rather than caucus dramatics and internal congressional politics. These are issues that do not correct the economic atrocities against the public, appropriated through our domestic legislation, nor do they bring justice to the bureaucratic iatrarchy and other nefarious agencies responsible for mass injuries, death, and destruction during the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. In a time when our nation’s economy remains on the brink of collapse, and working-class Americans have been pushed to their limits proceeding the coronavirus pandemic, we can only ask for elected leaders who do their jobs, not argue over who holds the greatest principles. The decision should be less centered around the elected individual, and more focused on how that elected Speaker will produce action and do the job which we have paid them to do.
Apart from Congress’s theatrics, the American people care not about who is the Speaker of the House, but that they do their job effectively. The Speaker of the House must pass majoritarian policy representative of the nation and in the best interests of the people, as opposed to focusing on a specific ideological issue. We need a Speaker of the House who can stand on their own in the face of politically weaponized influence and someone who isn’t willing to compromise their own honorable integrity in exchange for political advance. While McCarthy may not be a first choice for some, especially those who believe in the elimination of the deepstate, neo-Conservatism, and neo-Liberalism. However, the decision to elect him into the position of Speaker would force him to do his job and take action, passing legislation, instead of acting purely as a critical commentator and observer as Congress continues to pass bad public policy against the interests of the people. Sometimes it takes gridlock to force politicians like Kevin McCarthy to rework his platform to better suit the needs of the people represented by each of the nine dissenting Congressional Districts. While it may cost American citizens more to dispute McCarthy, than to bite the bullet and put him and Congress to work, McCarthy may revisit his platform to avoid enduring further [necessary] public humility through his inability to obtain a majority decision.