Editor’s note: Big Tent Ideas always aims to provide balancing perspectives on the hottest issues of the day. In the column below, Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon defends the idea of working with House Democrats to elect a moderate Republican speaker in the event of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy not receiving enough votes. A counterpoint column can be found here, where Chris Chappelear, a member of the Nebraska Republican Party State Central Committee, criticizes Bacon’s plan to work with House Democrats to elect a moderate Republican should McCarthy’s speaker bid fail.
I support Kevin McCarthy, but a small handful of people are holding us hostage.
The vast majority of the conference knows we can’t cave to the few when the demands are unreasonable. The immediate gridlock by this handful threatens the entire GOP, the House and will delay the operations of the 118th Congress.
I don’t plan on sitting on the sidelines letting this happen. Leaders are proactive. (RELATED: CHRIS CHAPPELEAR: Why Does My Congressman Want To Work With Moderate Dems To Get A RINO Speaker?)
As a retired brigadier general who served nearly 30 years in the Air Force, I know how important it is to rally the team behind a common goal. Teams can’t make perfection the enemy of good.
I led a squadron during the invasion of Iraq, commanded five times, deployed four times and played team sports. Teams win and we cannot allow a handful of people to hold the Republican conference hostage and destroy the team.
When Conference voted, 85% stood beside McCarthy and declared they wanted him as the next speaker. Now that number stands around 95%.
He has done more than anyone to help regain the majority for the GOP. He visited every GOP-held district and raised a record amount for the Congressional Leadership Fund.
Further, he has been superb at trying to include all the various factions in the Conference, to include the Freedom Caucus.
Every member of Conference had a chance to challenge Kevin and make their case. Once the Conference votes overwhelmingly for the speaker, as it did for McCarthy, it is right for all the members to coalesce and support the team.
Much has been made of me saying I would work with moderate Democrats to elect a more moderate speaker. But my actual words were that if the five refused to coalesce around what the vast majority of the conference wants, I’m willing to work across the aisle to find an agreeable Republican.
We cannot be held captive by a small number and run the risk of delaying the formation of committees and working on the agenda we promised Americans this past November.
We should not set a bad precedent and allow a few people to undercut the entire team of 222 members. Further, of the 16 new Republicans elected, 13 are affiliated with the Mainstreet GOP. It was the governing conservatives who got us the majority.
The real complaint here should be with the small faction who refuse to work with the rest of the conference. They are putting our majority in the House at risk.
My point is that if a few won’t be part of the 218 members we need to govern, we’ll then find other ways to get to 218!
Don Bacon represents Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.
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