Coup-plotting extremist Rep. Scott Perry didn’t have the guts to reveal that he and his newly McCarthy-empowered Freedom Caucus colleagues plan to hold the federal government hostage in order to slash your Social Security, Medicare and more.
If you’re not familiar with Perry, he’s a former “Never Kevin” congressman who eventually voted for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to become speaker of the House after he gave away much of his power to Perry’s gang of extremists known as the Freedom Caucus. They are also a gang of 2020 election deniers or worse. Perry is in the “worse” category. He tried to install an unqualified Trump loyalist to head the Justice Department in order to help Trump overturn the election and he may be under investigation by the DOJ for his efforts.
But none of that was mentioned during Perry’s Fox News victory lap today.
Host Neil Cavuto introduced Perry by saying, with obvious approval, that he had “changed the ballgame” when he voted for McCarthy during the 12th ballot (McCarthy won on the 15th). We saw video of Republicans standing up and cheering for Perry’s long-delayed vote for McCarthy. Cavuto also saluted Perry’s “39 years in the military!”
Perry began by saying that McCarthy’s concessions were “not concessions” but “wins for the American people and, quite honestly, they’re wins for the institution” that will “improve this place.”
Um, almost certainly not. Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post that “those expert in tearing things down” are now “in charge of governing.” He called it “insurrection by other means.”
On Thursday, the day McCarthy failed on an 11th consecutive ballot to secure the speakership, he formally surrendered to the 21 GOP extremists denying him the job. He agreed to allow any member of the House to force a vote at will to “vacate” his speakership — essentially agreeing to be in permanent jeopardy of losing his job. He agreed to put rebels on the Rules Committee, giving them sway over what gets a vote on the House floor, and in key committee leadership posts. He agreed to unlimited amendments to spending bills, inviting two years of mayhem. He agreed to other changes that make future government shutdowns and a default on the national debt more likely, if not probable.
Perhaps worst of all, the McCarthy-aligned super PAC, the Conservative Leadership Fund, agreed that it would no longer work against far-right extremists in the vast majority of Republican primaries — a move sure to increase the number of bomb throwers in Congress. Essentially, McCarthy placated the crazies in his caucus by giving up every tool he (or anybody) had to maintain order in the House.
As we noted in a previous post, inflation, preserving democracy, immigration and climate change are the issues Americans think should be the top priorities for Congress. Not wrecking it. Cavuto didn’t mention that, either.
However, Cavuto did note that some of the more moderate Republicans are not happy about some of the changes Perry and his gang forced and suggested they may regret it later.
Near the end of the interview, Perry hinted that he’ll hold the federal government hostage in order to ram through draconian, unpopular spending cuts.
CAVUTO: Would you ever shut the government down, yourself, Congressman? Would you countenance an act that maybe, whatever meritorious in your eyes tied to spending, if it shut the government down or brought us to the brink, you would?
PERRY: Look, I would never say never about anything, Neil. There’s a process in place for a reason, but there has to be a leverage point. If we’re just gonna keep spending money that we don’t have -- look I don’t know exactly where that ends, but it doesn’t seem to me, as a person who balances my own home budget, that it ends in a place that’s sustainable. So, people send us to Congress to make hard choices, the hard choices are before us, let’s make those hard choices.
The last time the government flirted with shutting down, S & P estimated the economy would lose $1.8 billion a week for the duration of the shutdown. The damage if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling would be catastrophic.
Perry didn’t have the decency to say what he wants to do, undoubtedly because he knows it would be wildly unpopular. The New York Times reports that McCarthy “appeared to agree” with Freedom Caucus demands that he be willing to shut down the government rather than raise the debt ceiling without major cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare. In fact, it was that concession that got many of the “Never Kevin” holdouts to acquiesce to his speakership, the Times reported.
Reinstating the so-called Holman Rule would allow any House lawmaker to propose cuts to federal spending when appropriations bills are being considered, including firing specific federal workers, cutting their pay dramatically or cutting a certain program or programs. The rule was revived in 2017 and never used, but some lawmakers already have some ideas who they want to target.
On the same day the Justice Department appointed Jack Smith as the special counsel to run the department’s investigations into former President Trump, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., indicated that Republicans would use the rule to defund Smith’s salary.
You can watch insurrectionist Perry pretend he’s on the side of Americans below, from the January 7, 2023 Cavuto Live.
And if you'd like to give Rep. Perry any feedback about his plans, you can contact him at 202-225-5836 or by email here.
House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry, R-Penn., discusses the vote for House Speaker, the negotiations for the vote between Republicans, and the new Congress.
The operating premise of angry Right Wingers today is that “government can’t get anything done”. So it’s natural that they will spend their time deliberately setting up situations that prove that hypothesis. The Pence White House made a point of not properly staffing its cabinet departments – in many departments, veteran staffers were effectively chased out of their jobs and harassed into retiring or leaving without being replaced. Literally dozens of ambassadorships were never filled around the world, not because those rascally Dems wouldn’t approve a nominee but because Pence and his cronies didn’t nominate anyone for many positions. In the worst example of this approach, Pence allowed the CDC to be wildly understaffed, including a complete absence of personnel in regions like where COVID popped up in Asia. Pence’s stated position was that we were spending too much money on all these career staffers in the various departments like State and the EPA and that if we had an emergency, we could just “hire the best people” at that time. Which was utter foolishness when it came to a deadly pandemic, where the CDC needed to have a team in place in advance of the problem. (Had Trump not squeaked through in 2016, we would never have had the significant pandemic of COVID of 2020. There would have been a much smaller outbreak that would have been quickly contained, and Trump would of course have tweeted that it was much worse. Because we had Pence in the White House and an utterly incompetent group that couldn’t manage such a problem, COVID spread like wildfire and killed more than a million Americans.)
We should note that all the various wild conditions angry Right Wingers were demanding of Kevin McCarthy had already been agreed to before they blocked his temporary ascension to the Speaker position. The only part of it that McCarthy had balked at was allowing any single member to challenge his status as Speaker and call for a new vote. McCarthy offered instead to allow that if only 5 members called for it. But the extremists were all set to get everything they’re taking credit for “achieving” before they wasted a week on 15 votes. It’s clear that their point wasn’t to “achieve” the nonsensical conditions they were demanding but instead to make this as humiliating as possible for everyone involved.
Lastly, we should note that McCarthy’s speakership may not be for that long. When the angry Right Wingers make their move this year to shut down the government rather than deal with the debt ceiling, it is likely that McCarthy will be forced to compromise. And the second he does so, he will likely be voted out.