U. S. House of Representatives

Floor Statements on Motion to Render Vacant the Office of Speaker of the House

delivered 3 October 2023, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.


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Motion to Vacate (H. Res. 757): Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.

[Draft Completed -- Authentication in Progress]

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Pursuant to clause 2(a)(2) of rule IX, the gentleman from Florida, Mr. GAETZ, and the gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE, will each control 30 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.

Mr. GAETZ: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield such time as he may consume to my colleague from Virginia, Mr. Good.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Virginia, Mr. GOOD is recognized for such time as he may consume. And before the gentleman speaks, may I remind my colleagues that all parties need to be heard. Would you please clear the well and clear the aisles, and any extraneous conversations need to be taken from the floor.

Gentleman from Virginia is recognized.

Mr. GOOD of Virginia: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Like so many others, I deeply regret that we are here in what was a totally avoidable situation. I must take you back to January, however, which for many of us was about not repeating the failures of the past and letting Republican voters across the country down once again, when in the past for many years, when Republicans have had majorities in this Chamber, we have passed our major spending bills predominantly with Democrat votes; something the other side of the House has never and would never do with majority control.

Back in January, I expressed my concern that the previous two years during my first term here in this House, we had not used every tool at our disposal to fight against the harmful, radical Democrat agenda that is destroying the country, bankrupting the country, and under which the American people are suffering. But most in here wouldn’t know that I helped persuade my five colleagues who comprised the remaining resistance in the wee morning hours of January 7 to switch our votes to ‘‘present’’ to let Mr. MCCARTHY become Speaker. And I went to him on this very floor to tell him that he was finally going to become Speaker on the next vote. In that moment, it was clear to me that I or we could have asked for anything in exchange for switching our votes to ‘‘present,’’ but I and we asked for nothing. The very next week, I requested and had a meeting with Speaker MCCARTHY to tell him he had my full support and that I wanted him to be successful because the country needed him to be successful.

In the ensuing months, I helped him narrowly pass the Parents Bill of Rights [as Act] and the Limit, Save, Grow bill [as Act] -- I think both of those by just one or two votes -- helping persuade some of my most conservative colleagues to come along despite some of the concerns they had with those bills. And we remained united as a Conference through the Limit, Save, Grow vote as we passed a bill that was cutting spending to pre-COVID levels for non-defense discretionary spending, or just over 100 billion dollars, historic spending cuts, as the Speaker had committed to do in January. And it also included a host of other conservative fiscal reforms.

Unfortunately, however, that unity and that commitment to a significant year-one cuts and spending reforms were discarded -- were discarded in the "Failed Responsibility Act," as I call it, which passed overwhelmingly, once again, with a majority of Democrat votes, validating the concern many of us had in January.

Many of us had begged the Speaker, pleaded with the Speaker repeatedly, to utilize the debt ceiling to leverage spending cuts and reforms. But instead, he negotiated an unlimited increase to the debt ceiling through January of ‘25, as much as we can come together and gleefully spend through January of ‘25, with no significant wins for the American people in that FRA or Failed Responsibility Act.

But the Speaker then said that we would use appropriations -- we would use appropriations to bring the fight and finally reduce our spending. He said the levels of the FRA were the ceiling and not the floor, and  committed -- recommitted multiple times to go back to the $1.471 trillion that was the Limit, Save, Grow levels, radically, historically saving a hundred billion dollars and lowering the deficit this year under Republican majority from $2.2 trillion to $2.1 trillion. That's what we were asking the Republican House to do, to go to $2.1 trillion.

Meanwhile, the Speaker had committed to bring a balanced budget vote to this floor, something that still has not happened despite the work that's been done in our Budget Committee to mark it up and have it ready to come to the floor. He also promised that we would bring all 12 appropriation[s] bills well before the September 30 fiscal deadline. We did not. We simply, as Republicans, needed the Speaker to cast the vision, request the sport -- the support of the entire Conference, all of whom voted for the Limit, Save, Grow levels, except for four who wanted to go even further, to -- to lead us in joining him, sticking with him, supporting him, and sending the most conservative spending bills with the -- the most conservative cuts possible to the Senate as the best starting position for negotiation with the Senate. Many of us begged and pleaded with the Speaker to do that over the past five year -- five months.

When the Speaker failed us to pass our spending bills, bringing only one of twelve to the floor before the August district work period, Members began to negotiate amongst themselves without the Speaker to find compromise. I was among those who reluctantly agreed last month to split the difference between failed responsibilities, $1.586 and the Limit, Save, Grow, $1.471. I reluctantly agreed to do that, to go to $1.526 in order to pass our bills on to the Senate.

We then essentially forced the Speaker with the pressure of the calendar, the debt ceiling -- or, excuse me, the shutdown threat of the calendar to bring those four bills to the floor last week, all of which I voted for, despite some of them not cutting to the levels we agreed to and other concerns I had with the bills. I reluctantly voted for the 30-day conditional CR (continuing resolution) because it cut an additional $10 billion in the month of October, going back to the pre-COVID $1.471 levels for defense, nondefense discretionary, 30 percent, and it had border security. I voted for that.

However, when that vote failed, the Speaker, this past Friday in the Republican Conference meeting, made it abundantly clear that he was willing to do anything to avoid the temporary discomfort and the pressure of a pause in the 15 percent of the nonessential Federal Government operations, which would guarantee that we would lose to the Senate Democrats and the White House. If you are not willing to say no, then you are guaranteed to lose. And that was confirmed with the passage of the unconditional 45-day CR this past Saturday, once again with 209 Democrat votes. The Republican bill, 209–1 Democrats; 51–0 in the Senate side.

The Speaker fought through 15 votes in January to become Speaker but was only willing to fight through one failed CR before surrendering to the Democrats on Saturday. We need a Speaker who will fight for something, anything, besides just staying or becoming Speaker. If there was ever a time to fight with 33 trillion dollars in national debt, a 2 trillion dollar deficit this year, 40-year high inflation, 20-year high interest rates, a downgraded credit rating, and for the first time in modern history the polls that despite all the help of the media blaming Republicans in the House -- the polls showed that the public was blaming Biden and the Democrats for an imminent shutdown.

If not fight now, when would we fight? Now is and was the time. With the Democrats driving the fiscal bus off the cliff at 100 miles an hour, we cannot simply be content to be the party that slows it down to 95 just so we can sit in the front seat and wear the captain’s hat. Our current debt and our spending trajectory is unsustainable. We need a Speaker, ideally somebody who doesn’t want to be Speaker and hasn’t pursued that at all costs for his entire adult life, who will meet the moment and do everything possible to fight for the country.

A red line was crossed for me, I regret, on Saturday, and so it is [with] regret that I must vote against the motion to table, as I did, and to vote to vacate the Chair.

Mr. GAETZ: I reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida reserves his time.

Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.

Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I share one thing in common with my friend from Virginia. This is a very sad day and certainly a day I never expected to have to live through. You know, I think, broadly speaking, as I look across this floor, you can divide Members into three groups. I'm very happy to be in the first group -- the overwhelming majority of my party supports the Speaker that we elected. We're proud of the leadership he's shown. We're proud of the manner in which he's been willing to work with everybody in our Conference, and I believe in this Chamber.

There's a second group, small group. Honestly, they're willing to -- to plunge this Body into chaos and this country into uncertainty for reasons that only they really understand. I certainly don’t. And then there are friends on my -- the other side -- I mean friends, honestly, with great sincerity -- I have a lot of friends over there, and I recognize that my friends on the other side have a very complex set of partisan, personal, and political calculations to make. And I certainly wouldn’t presume to give them any advice about that, but I would say think long and hard before you plunge us into chaos because that's where we're headed if we vacate the speakership.

You know, I personally think there's really three reasons why we've come to this point, and that's because at each three of these critical minutes, the Speaker did the right thing. First, there was a Speaker vote. You know, he got 85 percent of the vote in our Conference; 90 percent of the vote from Republicans on this floor. Yet, we had a small group that decided no, they would dictate what they want. He didn’t let that happen. He fought. Now, he fought for himself, but he fought for 90 percent of us too that wanted him to be the Speaker, and I appreciate that.

Then, of course, we had the debt ceiling deal. Nobody here thought he could pass a bill. Nobody in America thought he could pass a bill. He did what Speakers are supposed to do. He passed the bill. Then he sat down and negotiated with a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President and came back with a good deal, a deal that will limit spending. He did the right thing. Finally, last Saturday on this floor, we were on the verge of a government shutdown, a government shutdown that the vast majority of Members in this Chamber did not want, a substantial majority on my side; an overwhelming majority on the Democrat side. He put his political neck on the line, knowing this day was coming, to do the right thing -- the right thing for the country without a doubt.

My friends and I agree on that, whether or not we agree on the Speaker. He did the right thing. He did the right thing, I think, for this Institution. He showed it could function in a time of crisis. And finally, I think he did the right thing for our party. He made sure that we could continue to negotiate and achieve some of the very objectives my friend from Virginia laid out, and achieve them in divided government, which calls for some degree of give-and-take.

So I'm very proud of this Speaker. I'm very proud to stand behind him. Tomorrow morning, whether I win or lose, I'm going to be pretty proud of the people I fought with and I'm going to be extraordinarily proud of the person I fought for, the Speaker of the House, KEVIN MCCARTHY.

And with that, I reserve the balance of my time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Oklahoma's time is reserved. Gentleman from Florida.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, my friend from Oklahoma says that my colleagues and I who don’t support KEVIN MCCARTHY would plunge the House and the country into chaos. Chaos is Speaker MCCARTHY. Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word. The one thing that the White House, House Democrats, and many of us on the conservative side of the Republican caucus would argue is that the thing we have in common, KEVIN MCCARTHY said something to all of us at one point or another that he didn’t really mean and never intended to live up to.

I don’t think voting against KEVIN MCCARTHY is chaos. I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos. I think that facing a 2.2 trillion dollar annual deficit is chaos. I think that not passing single-subject spending bills is chaos. I think the fact that we have been governed in this country since the mid-1990s by continuing resolution and omnibus is chaos. And the way to liberate ourselves from that is a series of reforms to this Body that I would hope would outlast Speaker MCCARTHY’s time here, would outlast my time here, and would outlast either of our majorities -- reforms that I have heard some of the most conservative Members of this Body fight for and some of the reforms that we've been battling for that I've even heard those in the Democratic Caucus say would be worthy and helpful to the House -- like open amendments, like understanding what the budget is.

We have been out of compliance with budget laws for most of my life, most of many of your lives. And by the way, if we did those things, if we had single-subject bills, if we had an understanding on the top line, if we had open amendments, if we had trust and honesty and understanding, there would be times when my conservative colleagues and I would lose; might be a few times when we'd win. There'd be times that we would form partnerships that might otherwise not be really predictable in the American body politic, but the American people would see us legislating.

These last few days, we've suspended the momentum that we had established the week earlier where we were bringing bills to the floor, voting on them, staying late at night working hard. That's what the American people expect. It's something Speaker MCCARTHY hasn’t delivered. And that's why I moved to vacate the Chair.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman's time is reserved.

Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.

Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend [Mr. EMMER] from Minnesota.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Minnesota Mr. EMMER is recognized for two minutes.

Mr. EMMER: Thank you. KEVIN MCCARTHY has earned this. Under Speaker MCCARTHY’s leadership, our House Republican majority has actually defied all odds and overperformed expectations again and again and again. It all started with the Speaker’s race when our Speaker, KEVIN MCCARTHY, showed the American people how he would never give up. It carried over into the Speaker spearheading a Rules package to create the most transparent, Member-driven legislative process that I've ever seen since I have been here.

And since then, Speaker MCCARTHY’s Republican majority has been successful in bringing common sense back to our Nation’s capital by passing legislation to affirm a parents’ right to be involved in their child’s education, bolster American energy production, fully fund veterans’ care and benefits, fight back against the regulatory state, and continue delivering on our promise to rein in Democrats’ reckless spending by passing fiscally responsible appropriations bills. We've also achieved historic conservative wins like passing the strongest border security legislation in history, passing the first Republican-only NDAA in history, and passing the first Republican-only State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill. So many Americans are better off because of KEVIN MCCARTHY’s leadership: American families, jobs creators, entrepreneurs, servicemembers, law enforcement officer[s], and the list goes on and on. These are just a few of our House Republican majority successes.

But make no mistake: We need KEVIN MCCARTHY to remain Speaker if we're going to stay focused on our mission of delivering commonsense wins for the American people. We've shown Americans what success looks like when we come together as a team. Now it's time for us to stand together stronger than ever so we can get back to the work our majority was elected to do. I'm proud to support the Speaker as we continue championing conservative priorities that will put our country on a better path.

Thank you, Speaker MCCARTHY.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.

Mr. EMMER: I yield back.

Mr. GAETZ: The -- The opening line of my colleague’s speech was that Speaker MCCARTHY always overperforms expectations, but after tweeting ‘‘bring it’’ and after engaging in profane-laced tirades at House Conference, he just lost a motion to table. So I wouldn’t necessarily consider that overperforming expectations.

Time and again, I've heard my colleagues say, "Well, he deserves it because he went through a tough Speaker contest." Let me let everyone know, he prevailed in that Speaker contest because he made an agreement to fulfill certain commitments to make this an open and honest process, and he has failed to meet those commitments. And that's why we are here.

I reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman reserves his time.

Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.

Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield three minutes to my very good friend, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Ohio is recognized for  three minutes.

Mr. JORDAN: I thank the gentleman for yielding. On January 3rd we said the 118th Congress is about three things: pass the bills that need passed, do the oversight work that needs to be done, and stop the inevitable omnibus that comes from the United States Senate right before the holidays. KEVIN MCCARTHY has been rock-solid on all three. We have passed the bills we told the American people we would pass: 87,000 IRA -- S agents, that bill passed; Parents Bill of Rights, that bill passed; energy legislation, passed; border security immigration enforcement legislation, the strongest bill ever to pass the Congress, passed earlier this year.

We have done what we told them we were going to do. We can’t help that the Senate won’t take up those good commonsense bills. They'll have to answer to the American people come election day. Oversight. We have done the oversight that we're supposed to do. Because of our oversight, we know that parents were targeted by the Department of Justice. Because of our oversight, we know that 51 former intel officials misled the country weeks before the most important election we have.

Mr. Speaker, because of our oversight, the Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security is gone. Because of our oversight, the memo attacking pro-life Catholics has been rescinded. Because of oversight, unannounced visits to Americans’ home[s] by the Internal Revenue Service has stopped. That happened under Speaker MCCARTHY.

And on the third one on this side, we know there's a big ol' ugly bill coming at the end of the year -- all kinds of spending, all kinds of garbage in it. We're still in that fight. Frankly, to Matt's point, we don’t know how that one's going to shake out. But we do know this -- We do know this: On Saturday, we didn’t take the Senate’s bill. They tried to send [it] over and shove it down our throats on Sat[urday]. We didn’t take that bill. And it was a tough position he [the Speaker] was in.

There were five options on the table last week. Option one was [to] send a long-term CR over there that would have leveraged the one percent cut -- something a bunch of us voted for, both parties; couldn’t get the votes for that one. Second option was to focus on the one issue the country now is completely focused on: the border issue. We couldn’t get the votes for that one either. But when the Senate tried to send us that bill, he said ‘‘no’’ to it.

I think the Speaker has kept his word. I know my colleagues and friends are saying different -- I think he has kept his word on those three things that we talked about on January 3rd and, frankly, that entire week. He has kept his word. I think we should keep him as Speaker.

I yield back.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida is recognized.

Mr. GAETZ: Yeah, the...problem with my friend from Ohio’s argument is that many of the bills he referenced as having passed are not law. We are on a fast track to an omnibus bill, and it is difficult to champion oversight when House Republicans haven’t even sent a subpoena to Hunter Biden. So it's hard to make the argument that oversight is the reason to continue when it sort of looks like failure theater.

I yield such time as he may consume to my colleague from Arizona, Mr. BIGGS.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Arizona is recognized -- how much time?

Mr. GAETZ: What he consumes.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: So much as he may consume.

Mr. BIGGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a serious time. And my -- my mind immediately goes to the young deputy from Cochise County who two nights ago, while trying to apprehend a runaway vehicle smuggling humans across the border, suffered major injuries, transported to Pima County where he's in a Tucson hospital fighting for his life. I'm talking about a border that remains wide open, where drugs come through. The Tucson sector [has] the most got-aways known and unknown of any sector along the border; terrorists coming in, people conducting criminal conduct coming in, criminal gang members, human smugglers, sex traffickers. They [are] coming across our border to the tune of hundreds of thousands every month.

Now, I appreciate my colleagues and their position, but I would suggest something: I don’t think you can just skip to last weekend and say, “Oh, my goodness, a CR came out last weekend on Saturday. I think we need to go back to January.” I'll say this: This Body came together on the Republican side and we passed a good border security piece of legislation, H.R. 2. That's good. And  then last week we passed the DHS bill and the DOD bills which had funding for our CBP, ICE, military leaders, military men and women.

But why did we  -- why were we successful in doing that? What happened to motivate us to get there? Well, for one thing, we didn’t bother to pass the 12 appropriations bills as required under the Budget Control and Impounds law [the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act] of 1974. We didn’t do it. And you know how many times that's not been done? Twenty-five years in a row. And you know how many CRs this Body has passed in that same period of time? A hundred and thirty. You know what that gets you? A $2 trillion-plus structural deficit like we had in fiscal year 2023. You know what that leads you to? A 33 trillion dollar national debt, which is where we sit today; leads you to somewhere north of 700 billion dollars in interest payments. And you know why that happened? Because this Body is entrenched in a suboptimal path and refuses to leave it, refuses to leave that path.

You cannot change if you're unwilling to change. We had every opportunity to change. We were promised change. We were promised we were going to go ahead, and we were going to get those 12 bills done. If we got those 12 bills done -- do you know why you do 12 bills? Because it allows you to reduce spending, get rid of wasteful duplicative programs. It allows you to set an agenda to restore fiscal sanity. We chose to not do it again. We were promised we'd do it. That's why at the end some people said: We'll vote "present." We'll go ahead. We're going to put our trust in Mr. MCCARTHY to become the Speaker.

That didn’t happen. I suspected that would be the case. That was my struggle. That was my struggle last November and December. I iterated it to this Body, our Conference anyway. When we got to the debt ceiling, again, that seemed to spring upon everybody like a surprise. And  when that happened, I was in there for some of those negotiations on where that number would be, and I was astonished how that $1.5 trillion number was negotiated. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

But I will tell you this: To his credit, the Speaker told us one thing that I believe to be true. He said that -- that's basically the ante in a poker game. You can sit down at the table. And I told my colleagues who supported that: That 1.5 trillion dollar[s] in eight months that you're willing to raise the debt ceiling, that's the opening marker. And indeed, it was. And now, projections are many trillion dollars above that. Yes, I think it's time to -- to make a change. I'm not the only one, and thus it's is somber. Thus, it is somber.

But what have we failed to accomplish? Why -- Why didn’t we get this stuff done? When we're -- When we're campaigning, we're talking about an extension of the debt ceiling to January of 2025. We're talking about additional Ukraine funding. Is that going to be  -- maybe that's good in your districts. Maybe it's not. But that money's not offset. We're not paying for it. We haven’t designated how we're going to pay for that -- the same with the disaster package [Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund]. The IRS remains 80 percent increased.

And I will tell you -- I...could go down the list, but I will just tell you why this happens. When you don’t do your 12 budget bills and you rely ultimately on a CR -- and I'll get to the calendar in a second -- what happens is, you cannot leverage this Administration to actually enforce the border laws that you need to have enforced. This is a lawless Biden regime. They will not enforce border laws. And we can pass them 'til we're blue in the face, but until you leverage the budget and the spending, you will not see enforcement by...this Administration.

So now, take a look at the calendar that the -- that we were just provided last week. We're supposed to finish -- We're supposed to finish by November 3rd our 12 bills. By November 17th, that's when we're supposed to see that the conference committees have come together, both sides, and we've resolved this. I don’t believe that that's going to happen. It wasn’t going to happen before. You were -- You were betting on the come again. At some point, I'd urge you to stop betting on the come and bet on the reality.

That's why I can’t support the Speaker any longer, and I'll be voting for the motion to vacate -- and yield back.

Mr. GAETZ: Reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman yields back his time. Gentleman from Florida --

Mr. GAETZ: Reserves.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Reserves. Members are advised to direct your comments to the Chair. Please.

Gentleman from Oklahoma.

Mr. COLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I yield two minutes to my very good friend from Arkansas Mr. WESTERMAN.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Arkansas Mr. WESTERMAN is recognized for two minutes.

Mr. WESTERMAN: Selah, s-e-l-a-h, selah. This unique word, scattered throughout the Psalms, signals to the reader to pause, reflect, consider, and maybe take a deep breath before moving on. Psalmists use selah to emphasize the significance of a statement. For example, King David wrote: ‘‘Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.’’1 That is a profound statement with huge implications. It deserves more than a cursory consideration.

Bust of "Uncle Joe" Cannon located in the Cannon Office Building, the oldest congressional office building in existence..

Within the next hour, this House will vote ‘‘yea’’ or ‘‘nay’’ to vacate the Speaker’s chair, a profound action with huge implications. This was last tried in 1910. Joseph Cannon won the vote. One hundred thirteen years later, my office is in the Cannon Office Building, and Uncle Joe Cannon’s statue sits just outside this Chamber. No living human has taken the vote we're about to take. It deserves that we pause; we reflect; that we consider deeply the ramification of our actions.

To my fellow Republicans who would consider voting ‘‘yes’’ to removing our Republican Speaker, please pause and ask yourself two questions: Will your ‘‘yes’’ vote make America stronger? Will your ‘‘yes’’ vote strengthen conservative policies? If you believe ‘‘yes’’ is the right vote, please stand before this Body and the American people and articulate your plan -- not your grievances or your wishes, your plan. Convince the [vast] majority of the Republican Conference that strongly disagrees with you to follow you. If you cannot do that, which you have failed to do so far, then voting ‘‘yes’’ is, at the least, a disruptive overreaction. In reality, it's selfish, bad for conservative policies, and bad for America.

That's why I strongly support Speaker KEVIN MCCARTHY and why, without hesitation or reservation, I will vote ‘‘no’’ on this disastrous resolution.

I yield back.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.

Mr. GAETZ: There's nothing selfish about wanting a Speaker of the House who tells the truth. I reserve.

I reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman reserves his time.

Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE?

Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend from Kentucky and fellow member of the Rules Committee, Mr. MASSIE.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Kentucky Mr. MASSIE  is  recognized for two minutes.

Mr. MASSIE: Mr. Speaker, as the only still-serving coauthor and cosponsor of the motion to vacate Speaker Boehner,2 I can tell you this motion to vacate is a terrible idea. As the only Member who is serving here who took every chance to vote against Speaker Boehner and to vote against Speaker Ryan, I can tell you that this Chamber has run -- been run better, more conservatively, and more transparently under Mr. MCCARTHY than any other Speaker that I have served under.

As a member of the Rules Committee, one -- one of three -- one of three conservatives who were placed there out of trust -- the Speaker gave us a blocking position by putting three of us on there to keep an eye on the Rules Committee, to make sure the process was fair and even -- I can tell you it has been fair and even. None of us are voting against the Speaker today. Regular order is at odds with predetermined outcomes. Yet, the Speaker is -- is being accused of not holding to regular order and predetermined outcomes at the same time. It is not possible. You cannot be for both at the same time.

I was a party to the January agreement, and I can tell you that there were promises in there, but there was never a promise for an outcome. There was never a promise that you could force Joe Biden to sign something. There was only the promise that we would try, and try we have. We have tried in the Rules Committee. We have tried on the floor. We've been trying this since this summer and there is enough blame to go around for why we don’t have 12 bills, but part of it was a relitigation of the debt limit deal. By the way, there was no promise on the debt limit deal, no conditions on that in January -- zero -- whatsoever. I was in the room for that. So the 12 bills were delayed over what? A hundred billion dollars. That's a lot of money, but it's nothing compared to the two trillion dollars that I came here to object to when Speaker PELOSI and President Trump pushed that bill through.

We've had over 500 amendments. Listen, this is a -- this is a referendum on this Institution. We have tried regular order. Speaker MCCARTHY has tried regular order. If regular order fails today, if you vacate the Speaker, nobody is going to try again.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman's time has expired.

Mr. MASSIE: This Institution will fail. Please do not vacate the Speaker.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.

Mr. GAETZ: I reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida reserves his time. Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.

Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend from California [Mr. MCCLINTOCK].

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from California, Mr. MCCLINTOCK is recognized for two minutes.

Mr. MCCLINTOCK: Mr. Speaker, if there was ever a time for sobriety, wisdom, and caution in this House, it is right now. If this motion carries, the -- the House will be paralyzed. We can expect week after week of fruitless ballots while no other business can be conducted. The Democrats will revel in Republican dysfunction, and the public will rightly be repulsed. It'll end when the Democrats are able to enlist a rump caucus of Republicans to join a coalition to end the impasse. This House will shift dramatically to the left and will effectively end Republican House majority that the voters elected in 2022. And this, in turn, will neutralize the only counterweight in our elected government to the woke Left’s control of the Senate and the White House at a time when their policies are destroying our economy and have opened our borders to invasion.

There are turning points in history whose significance is only realized by the events that they unleash. This is one of those times. We are at the precipice. There are only minutes left to come to our senses and realize the grave danger our country is in at this moment. Dear God, grant us the wisdom to see it and to save our country from it.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing sober, wise, or cautious about the path we are on. We are a -- on a path to financial ruin if this House does not take a different posture, a different procedure, and yield towards different outcomes and a better future.

I reserve.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman reserves his time. Gentleman from Oklahoma Mr. COLE.

Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield one and half minutes to my very good friend from Florida Mr. GIMENEZ.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: One and half minutes. Gentleman from Florida is recognized for one and one half minutes.

Mr. GIMENEZ: Mr. Speaker, I stand before my colleagues and the Nation as a proud Representative of the great State of Florida. I truly am beyond blessed to represent my -- the paradise that is Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. And I am beyond proud of -- to represent my community before this Congress, to stand with a leader who has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our country and to the principles that define us as Americans, KEVIN MCCARTHY.

Today is historic for a lot of reasons. For -- For one thing, this is the first time in over a hundred years that this has been attempted. But it's also because we are part of a Congress with historically tight majorities for the Republic[an]s in the House and the Democrats in the Senate, and we have a Democratic White House. Divided government -- that's what we have. The need to negotiate to find solutions to the issues facing this country, that's a -- that's a reflection of the principles that are uniquely American, principles that make this country exceptional, and principles that allowed me, an exile who came here from Cuba, fleeing Communist Cuba, to serve in this very Institution.

You see, I wasn’t born here, and everything -- but everything that I am, everything that I ever will be, is thanks to America. The best part about it is that my story, and the story of the community I'm so proud to represent, is the story of many in this Body is that we are not -- we are not the exception in America. We are the rule. That's the America that KEVIN MCCARTHY has fought for his entire career. KEVIN MCCARTHY is a champion for the American Dream, and he's proved it as our Speaker.

[audio-to-text transcription first pass verified to here: 38:58]

Thomas Jefferson once said: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the guise of taking care of them.” Let’s keep KEVIN MCCARTHY as our Speaker. He is a great man, a great leader, and a great Speaker.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to my remaining time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: The gentleman from Florida has 9 3 ⁄4 minutes remaining.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 1 ⁄2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Iowa [Mrs. HINSON ], my very good friend.

Mrs. HINSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of our Speaker, KEVIN MCCARTHY. Let’s be very clear here. We would not have a House Republican majority without the relentless efforts of this man, our Speaker. Under his leadership, Joe Biden’s policies have had a check and balance. His policies have created a horrific border crisis -- 10,000 illegal immigrants a day surging across our border. Under Speaker MCCARTHY, Republicans have passed legislation to secure our border.

Joe Biden has done everything to squash American energy, selling our oil reserves to China. Under Speaker MCCARTHY, Republicans have passed legislation to unleash American energy dominance. Joe Biden has spent taxpayer dollars like there is no tomorrow. Under Speaker MCCARTHY, we have returned to passing single-subject appropriations bills and ending the status quo of omnibus spending.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice that I received was from KEVIN MCCARTHY when I got here to D.C. He told me to separate the signal from the noise. The noise is those who are causing chaos for their own personal benefit while ignoring the needs of their constituents and this country, grinding our work here to a halt. The signal is the many accomplishments that we have delivered for the American people with Speaker MCCARTHY at the helm. The signal is the failures coming out of the White House time and time again. The signal is the work that we must do today and going forward to save our country for my kids and yours.

My colleagues here today have a choice: Be a chaos agent or get back to work. I call on my colleagues: Let’s separate the signal from the noise. Let’s support our Speaker, KEVIN MCCARTHY, so we can get back to work for the American people.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I think I have caught the signal, too. The signal is for $33 trillion in debt, facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits. Our fellow Americans may be watching and wondering, how does that happen? How does the greatest country in the world have a process so broken that it would be laughed out of the rooms in the halls of the State legislatures where many of us come from?

Here is how it works. The law says we are supposed to have the very single-subject spending bills that my colleague referenced in the summer; that we are supposed to have that and move it. But there is a dirty little secret in this town, and that is, if you delay, if you hold the bills, if you make multiple contradictory promises -- as Speaker MCCARTHY has done -- and you back everybody up against shutdown politics, well, nobody wants to shut the government down. No one cheers for a shutdown and, of course, when people are backed up against shutdown politics, the decision calculus changes. So year after year, decade after decade, we break the law, and we do the same thing. We pass a continuing resolution, then we pass another continuing resolution, and then it is either another continuing resolution or an omnibus bill or a series of minibuses that lump these disparate things together.

The American people want all of us to take votes on single-subject matters. They don’t want to see these things all mushed together and logrolled. It was concerning to me to hear of a secret deal on Ukraine funding that would have logrolled more money with Ukraine with our southern border. Now, how offensive is that to our Customs and Border Patrol, to our ICE, to the people that are suffering as a consequence of our border that some of my colleagues are only willing to stand up and fight for our border if they can send billions to Ukraine to fund their border, too?

Well, I have had enough of that, and that is why I brought this motion to vacate.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Louisiana [Mr. SCALISE], our distinguished majority leader and my good friend.

Mr. SCALISE: Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Oklahoma for yielding. When we go back to January, as many people have, we knew that it was going to be a narrow majority. We also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. How many of us came here because we thought this job was going to be easy? How many of us thought the task ahead of us to address the problems of this country was going to be easy?

One thing we did know is that if we were going to finally start confronting problems that had been ignored for years and years and years, we had to change the way this place worked, and one thing Speaker MCCARTHY embraced from day one is to start making those kinds of changes to this Institution, opening up the process, allowing Members to be more engaged, having amendments come to the floor, single-subject bills, doing appropriations bills.

Yes, making that happen overnight is not something that happens automatically, but it started to happen, and we are now seeing the fruits of it. Just last week, we had four different appropriations bills on this House floor, four different ones. Now, those bills took weeks and weeks to finally get to the floor, going through an open committee process, hundreds of amendments, each one of them where Republicans and Democrats could bring their ideas. We debated those bills on the floor, some until after midnight where Members could actually participate in the process.

This has been a broken process for a long time, but it is a process where we, if we are going to confront the problems that families are facing, we need to resolve our differences inside this House Chamber before we can then go and fight for those families who are struggling. Every single day across America families are struggling with real problems that we are going to have to get back to solving. Those problems are real for them. It is inflation. It is the economy. It is high energy costs. It is an open southern border that doesn’t just affect the border States. It is affecting every State -- Republican districts, Democrat districts.

Everybody knows it, and it can be ignored by the White House, but this House is the only Body that started to take action with H.R. 2 and then with the border bill last week. Plus, with the action we took last week, over 70 percent of government funding passed out of the House, however everybody voted, Republican or Democrat. This House passed funding for over 70 percent of the Federal Government’s operation, and it is sitting over in the Senate where they passed zero, and we are going to beat each other up and talk about our internal processes and we need to get our internal processes working better, but so does that other body over there and so does the White House.

Everybody in this town needs to be engaged in addressing these problems, but if we don’t start here and if we don’t focus these next 45 days -- because that is what we have got in front of us, we have got two bills this week, we have got two more appropriations bills next week, and if we are going to be confronting those, we have got to stay focused on our mission. What the other side does, let’s continue to put pressure on them, but we also need to put pressure on ourselves to do our job.

Speaker MCCARTHY has been leading at the top of the level to make sure that we have the tools to do our jobs in a different way than the House has done it before. This House is going to have to continue to make those changes, but the American people sent us here to confront those problems. We are finally starting to. This isn’t the time to slow that process down. We need to keep doing our work. We need to keep fighting for those families who are struggling, but so does the Senate and so does the White House, as well. Let’s keep doing this work that we were sent here to do.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I agree with everything that the majority leader said in those remarks, except one thing. It is astonishing to hear any colleague give Speaker MCCARTHY credit for moving on to the single-subject appropriations bills. As you heard my colleague Mr. BIGGS say, that was never the plan from Speaker MCCARTHY. The week before we moved on to those single-subject appropriations bills, the plan was another CR. He pitched a CR. They tried to get us to vote for a CR, and a brave few said we are done governing by continuing resolution.

We are here to eulogize the era of the continuing resolution. We will not do it. We will not pass it. These bills can go. The spending may rise and fall as the years pass, but the notion that we are going to lump in the Department of Education and the Department of Labor with our military and our troops and our Border Patrol is fundamentally unserious, and I would suggest chaotic. We cannot do that. It was only because we forced that to happen.

By the way, if we continue with Speaker MCCARTHY, the appropriations process will go right back to what he wanted it to go back to -- just a sideshow, just a puppet show, just something to keep the hamsters on the hamster wheel as they continue to back people up against a calendar, centralize power with the lobbyists and special interests that move all kinds of money through the leadership. That is how they get their way, and that is why the American people have been getting screwed decade after decade. I am not going to tolerate it anymore without a fight.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. MIKE GARCIA], my very good friend and fellow member of the Appropriations Committee.

Mr. MIKE GARCIA of California: Mr. Speaker, I want to recalibrate our minds on what is actually happening here today. This proceeding looks important. It feels consequential, but let’s look at what else is happening across America. Today, about 300 Americans will die from fentanyl poisoning. Today, about 11,000 people will illegally penetrate our borders. Today’s debt is approaching $34 trillion. Today’s mortgage rates just hit a 25-year high now approaching 8 percent. Our energy prices are again at backbreaking highs with gas approaching $8 a gallon in my district. Today, China and the CCP grow stronger with an intent to go to war by 2027, and our military is experiencing record-low retention and record-low recruitment.

This is the reality of today for 335 million Americans under President Joe Biden. It is a dark and scary reality. This Republican majority here today in the House is the only firewall against the damaging far-left policies of the Biden Administration. The single-subject appropriations bills that we were supposed to be voting on this week will literally fight to reverse the darkness of these realities and fight inflation, cut spending, secure our border, while enhancing our Nation’s security and investing in our soldiers at a meaningful level.

Today, this Body filled with people in fancy suits, led by a few Republicans who are running with scissors and supported by Democrats who have personal issues with the Speaker, have uncertain intentions and even more uncertain goals, and they have decided to make today about drama. Today is not about solving problems and helping our constituents but about drama. We need to be the no-drama option for America -- this party, this majority. I fear that this self-inflicted drama of today jeopardizes our majority and by definition removes the last layer of defense protecting America from this Biden Administration. Let’s dispense with the drama, do our jobs, and move on with defending this beautiful country.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I am here to solve problems, too, but we have decade after decade of history showing us that you don’t solve any problems with continuing resolutions and omnibus bills. That creates more problems, more debt, more inflation, more pain for American families. So the way to solve problems is to break the fever dream of governing by continuing resolution and omnibus bills and instead return to the very single-subject spending bills that we will only get if my resolution passes to vacate Speaker MCCARTHY.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. MCHENRY].

Mr. MCHENRY: Mr. Speaker, every step of the way, Speaker MCCARTHY has been doubted. After the first Speaker vote, he was mocked, right? After 15, they called him Speaker, and even then it was the media and the left that mocked him. With the narrowest Republican majority in a generation, what did we achieve? We brought the President to the table when he stubbornly said for 100 days he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling. I took him at his word. The Speaker said, no, we will get him to the table, and sure enough, we did. The result: The most conservative spending package we have seen in generations, the largest spending cuts year over year that any Congress has passed. Conservative outcomes.

I understand your position on the left. I understand that. But my friends on the right, why? Then this past weekend, I understand the frustration on the left at what happened on the continuing resolution, but why would we have conservatives object to that? Why would we have House Members object to that? We rolled the Senate. We never roll the Senate as a House. Moreover, we never roll the Senate to get less spending, and we got it this weekend, so I understand why the left is mad. What I don’t understand is why some Republicans think that that is a bad thing.

The frustration for me today -- I understand where the liberals are. I know you support the constitutional order except in a moment like this when you are questioned on that. I understand that. You can’t be counted on in a moment like this with the state of the speakership. For Republicans, why would we give up a conservative working majority for better outcomes and hand the keys over to the Democrats? Why would we do that? With this record of success that we have seen KEVIN MCCARTHY and the Republican majority produce in a Washington run by Democrats, we are going to throw that away, resulting in more liberal outcomes, not more conservative ones. I understand why the left is where you are today. You don’t like an effective conservative majority.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, it is lovely to hear from the principal architect of Mr. MCCARTHY’s debt limit deal, but here is the reality: The only Republicans in America who believe that the debt limit deal was conservative are in this Chamber right now because all over America, Republicans think that when you negotiated that debt limit deal, they took your lunch money.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 1 ⁄2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Oklahoma [Mrs. BICE].

Mrs. BICE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Speaker KEVIN MCCARTHY. Under his leadership and a very small, five-seat majority, House Republicans have achieved, contrary to popular belief, numerous victories. We passed the Parents Bill of Rights; the Lower Energy Costs Act to lower the cost of gasoline and restore American energy independence; the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was one of the largest enacted cuts with enforceable spending caps in American history; and H.R. 2, the most conservative southern border security bill in history -- all of this while fully funding our military and our Nation’s veterans.

Let me be abundantly clear: Attempting to remove Speaker MCCARTHY will put this House in a stalemate and paralyze our ability to fight for our constituents and instead create a fight amongst one another. We have 43 days to restore fiscal responsibility and advance conservative appropriations priorities, which is exactly what my colleagues have asked for. Instead, we are threatening any House proceedings. This is an unnecessary distraction. Working together under the leadership of Speaker MCCARTHY is of the utmost importance.

Mr. Speaker, I stand and strongly support KEVIN MCCARTHY for Speaker of the House, and I encourage my Republican colleagues to do the same.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York [Ms. STEFANIK], my very good friend, and our distinguished Conference leader.

Ms. STEFANIK: Mr. Speaker, anyone and everyone who knows KEVIN MCCARTHY, whether they are a friend or foe, knows that KEVIN MCCARTHY is a happy warrior. He is tireless. He has that uniquely American grit. Under KEVIN’s speakership, that lasted 15 rounds of him never giving up, this Republican majority have exceeded all expectations: We reopened the people’s House. We passed the strongest border security bill in our Nation’s history. We passed an energy plan to unleash American energy dominance. We passed Defense bills to support our troops. Under KEVIN’s leadership, he has brought hundreds and hundreds of bipartisan Members of Congress to Israel, our greatest ally. He elected the most diverse class of Republicans ever, with the largest number of Republican women ever in American history.

This boy from Bakersfield, he cares deeply about his constituents, his country, and the American people, and that includes each and every one of his colleagues. He has been to our districts, toasted at our weddings, celebrated the birth of our children, mourned the loss of our loved ones, and has cheered us when we haven’t believed in ourselves, which is why the Republicans strongly support Speaker MCCARTHY and are proud he is our Speaker. Now more than ever, the Republicans must unify. The stakes are too high. We need to save our country, which is why this Conference is proud to strongly support KEVIN MCCARTHY as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, I will just say that if this House of Representatives has exceeded all expectations, then we definitely need higher expectations. While it is heartwarming and kind that the Speaker calls people on their birthday and visits their district and congratulates them on their children, please know this isn’t a critique of the individual. It is a critique of the job.

The job hasn’t been done. We have had multiple contradictory promises. It is quite something, for those of you keeping track at home, the last three speakers you have heard opposing my resolution all voted for the debt deal. So if you believe that the debt limit deal that Speaker MCCARTHY brought into law was a good thing, maybe you agree with their perspective. I think the debt limit deal was a terrible deal, and it really was the original sin of the McCarthy speakership, and it is one of the reasons I seek to vacate the Chair now.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana [Mr. G RAVES], my:: very good friend.

Mr. GRAVES of Louisiana: Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Oklahoma for yielding. Mr. Speaker, we have been here for 8 months with one of the tightest majorities in modern history. Yet, look at the accomplishments of this majority, this conservative majority, with the majority of Republicans voting for: the strongest border security in my lifetime. Fighting against this incomprehensible energy policy that is driving up energy costs 40 percent, utility and gasoline payments, pushing Americans into energy poverty. We passed legislation to unleash America’s energy resources, pushing back this Administration’s brainless policies on energy.

We passed legislation to pull back, to stop spending, $4.8 trillion, that -- I want to make note -- my friends that are carrying this motion to vacate opposed. We passed legislation to streamline regulations permitting environmental laws for the first time in 40 years. Again, my friends here opposed. We strengthened work requirements for welfare to get people back into the workforce. Again, my friends over here opposed.

I keep wondering, what is going on? Are we redefining what conservative is? What is going on in this country today? What is going on in this Body? We have FreedomWorks, Heritage, CHIP ROY and JIM JORDAN say something is conservative and these folks say it is not, and they are right. All of a sudden, my phone keeps sending text messages, saying: “Hey, give me money.” “Look at that.” “Oh, look: Give me money. I filed a motion to vacate.” Using official actions, official actions to raise money: It is disgusting. It is what is disgusting about Washington.

Mr. Speaker, we have watched as these folks right here that have brought up this motion to vacate have refused to pay our military servicemembers, refused to pay them. I would quote my delegation member, my Senator from Louisiana, JOHN KENNEDY. If we are not going to pay our servicemembers, if they are not going to be there to protect us, the next time someone invades America, ‘‘call a crackhead.’’ Let me know how that works out.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 30 seconds to the gentleman from Louisiana.

Mr. GRAVES of Louisiana: Mr. Speaker, I have heard people talk about bad faith here. I have heard them make reference to this January agreement -- my friends from Arizona, Virginia, and Florida. Let me be crystal clear: Not a single one of them was in the room. You know what? The Speaker didn’t meet the targets of that January agreement, he exceeded them. The greatest savings in American history. The greatest savings in American history. Mr. Speaker, this isn’t about fundraising. This is about our country. It is about our children and our grandchildren.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: The time of the gentleman has again expired.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 30 seconds to the gentleman from Louisiana.

Mr. GRAVES of Louisiana: Mr. Speaker, we need to stand behind this majority. We need to stand behind the greatest Speaker in modern history that has delivered the best conservative wins for this country.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, my colleague says we have passed the strongest border bills in history. Well, guess what? Look at the border right now. We didn’t use sufficient leverage in the debt limit or in any other thing to actually get results on the border. The border is a disaster; really something I don’t think you are going to be campaigning on that you fixed the border.

Second, the gentleman said he streamlined regulations. What the gentleman from Louisiana doesn’t tell you is that all of the regulatory reform he was just bragging about is waivable by the stroke of a pen of someone in the Biden White House. Do you really think you have anything for that? It is a total joke.

Finally, the Welfare-to-Work that the gentleman from Louisiana said we have, the welfare programs that they said they streamlined with their Welfare-to-Work stuff, they are actually going to grow. While they did work requirements, they blew out those programs of expanded eligibility. I am really glad my colleagues didn’t put work requirements on Medicaid. It probably would have resulted in Medicaid expansion.

When it comes to how those raise money, I take no lecture on asking patriotic Americans to weigh in and contribute to this fight from those who would grovel and bend knee for the lobbyists and special interests who own our leadership, who have -- oh, boo all you want -- who have hollowed out this town and have borrowed against the future of our future generations. I will be happy to fund my political operation through the work of hardworking Americans, $10, $20, and $30 at a time. My colleagues can keep showing up at the lobbyists’ fundraisers and see how that goes for you.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: Once again, the Chair would admonish those speaking from the floor to direct their comments to the Chair.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to the time remaining for each side.

The SPEAKER pro tempore: The gentleman from Oklahoma has 3 minutes remaining. The gentleman from Florida has 3 minutes remaining.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from North Dakota [Mr. A RMSTRONG], my great friend.

Mr. ARMSTRONG: Mr. Speaker, let’s be clear why we are here: Because the incentive structure in this town is completely broken. We no longer value loyalty, integrity, confidence, or collaboration. Instead, we have descended to a place where clicks, TV hits, and the never-ending quest for the most mediocre taste of celebrity drives decisions and encourages juvenile behavior that is so far beneath this esteemed Body.

KEVIN MCCARTHY has done more in 9 months to restore the people’s House than any Speaker in decades. We have done regular order. We have had open amendments. Every single Member of this Chamber has the right, the ability, and the opportunity to be heard on the floor. It has been messy. It has been raucous, and at times, it has been chaotic. God bless every minute of it, because democracy is supposed to be hard. The alternative is a closed-door process where 2,000-page bills come out of the Speaker’s office at midnight and are forced to the floor the next morning.

KEVIN MCCARTHY has broken that cycle. That alone is enough for him to remain our Speaker, but that doesn’t deliver his opponents what they crave the most: attention. We shouldn’t stand for it. I won’t stand for it. I will stand here with our Speaker, with our leader, that the overwhelming majority of our Conference supports. You need to look no further than where the opponents are sitting today in this Chamber. They are not over here. They are over there.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to face these challenges together. I say bring whatever comes next because we believe in the job our Speaker has done. We believe in his vision, and, most importantly, we are proud to call KEVIN MCCARTHY our friend and our Speaker of the House.

Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, to be clear, I tried to get one of the three podiums on the Republican side, and my colleagues wouldn’t let me have them, so they sent me over here. Mr. Speaker, you know what, I will make this argument at any desk in this building, from the well, from the Chair. I will make it on every street corner in this country that Washington must change. We have to break the cycle. We have to break the fever. I would hope, truly, that the reforms that we are fighting for are reforms that would last and be embraced and that would democratize power in this Institution beyond the privileged few who back us up against shutdown politics and Christmases and deadlines in order to achieve their objectives.

Mr. Speaker, high inflation is on the verge of bankrupting American families. Our economy is breaking in half. A typical American family can’t afford to buy a House in 99 percent of U.S. counties. Inflation is stealing more than $700 a month from working Americans; nearly $9,000 a year.

KEVIN MCCARTHY is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and he has failed to take a stand where it matters; so if he won’t, I will. I make no apologies for defending the right of every hardworking American to afford a decent life for themselves and their families, and we have a greater opportunity to do that and to build coalitions under new leadership. We have to rip off the Band-Aid. We have to get back on a better course.

Mr. Speaker, I don’t know how this vote is going to go. Usually when a vote comes to this floor, it is pretty pre-determined. This one, I am not so sure. I am sure that we have made the right argument: that this place deserves single-subject spending bills; that we should have 72 hours to read a bill; that something that spends more than $100 million shouldn’t be put on the suspension agenda such that we can’t amend it; and there shouldn’t be secret side deals made on a continuing resolution to lump Ukraine in with border security. That is not right for Ukraine or border security because it fails to give either of those issues the dignity that they would require.

We can return that dignity to this House. We can get back on a better path. We can have single-subject appropriation bills. We can set a budget, a budget top line. We haven’t had a budget in this place since I was in high school. Let’s get a budget. Let’s get our act together. Let’s get on with it. Let’s vacate the Chair, and let’s get a better Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

1 Psalm 68:19 [NASB]

2 Full text of motion to vacate Speaker Boehner: Whereas the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent; Whereas the Speaker has, through inaction, caused the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People; Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker; Whereas the Speaker has intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation to be taken without notice and with few Members present; Whereas the Speaker uses the legislative calendar to create crises for the American People, in order to compel Members to vote for legislation; Whereas the Speaker does not comply with the spirit of the rules of the House of Representatives, which provide that Members shall have three days to review legislation before voting; Whereas the Speaker continues to direct the Rules Committee to limit meaningful amendments, to limit debate on the House floor, and to subvert a straightforward legislative process; and Whereas the House of Representatives, to function effectively in the service of all citizens of this country, requires the service of a Speaker who will endeavor to follow an orderly and inclusive process without imposing his or her will upon any Member thereof: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.

Original Text Source: https://www.congress.gov/118/crec/2023/10/03/169/162/CREC-2023-10-03.pdf

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