Did You Inspire the “Chaos” in Congress?

October 12, 2023

The Establishment Elites may dub it ‘chaos,’ but positive change could be on the horizon.

Think politicians never do anything good? Think again…

Eight Republican House members, in a bold move last week, allied with Democrats and dethroned Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Why does this matter?

Recall McCarthy’s rocky path to his speakership. We’ve discussed this with you before.

In January, several back-bench Republicans withheld the key votes McCarthy needed to become the speaker. They were disgruntled with business as usual in the House. They saw McCarthy as the poster boy for that status quo. These Republicans withheld their crucial votes, demanding commitments from McCarthy to reinstate the “usual order” of the House.

What’s the “Usual Order?”

We’ve long advocated for the “One Subject at a Time Act.” This act, focusing on single-issue bills, is part of what defines the “usual order.”

Once upon a time, individual congress members had a say in the legislative process. However, during this century we’ve seen the power of backbenchers (most of Congress) whittled away.

Now, a very small number of congressional leaders at the very top make nearly all of the decisions. They force members to toe the line or lose power in the House, if not their seat itself.

This means YOUR representative has almost no influence in the process.

The absence of single-issue bills exacerbates this issue. Members of Congress are constantly compelled to vote for things they hate in order to pass things they want.

To escape this bind, our “One Subject at a Time Act” is reintroduced in every congressional session. And…

Dissenting Republicans embraced this act as they brokered their deal with McCarthy.

McCarthy pledged

McCarthy pledged to the “one subject” principle and promised to discard the umbrella spending bills, focusing instead on twelve distinct spending bills. Each would cater to a specific federal budget sector. Moreover, the pact assured floor debates and amendments for each of those bills.

Such moves would have curbed the ever-growing Statist Leviathan. This episode underlines politicians’ potential to enact positive change.

But here’s the twist:

McCarthy reneged

He backpedaled on his promises, likely assuming the usual political dance would continue. Maybe he had no intention to keep his word. But things were different this time, because…

A small band of Republican politicians had backbone!

These Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, looked for a way to hold McCarthy accountable. And the way they had to do that involved partnering with the Democrats to strike back at the Republican leadership.

Is this “chaos in Congress” or the dawn of reform?

It’s too soon to tell if this will result in reform. There’s a valid argument to be made that Speaker McCarthy was taken out too soon by too small a force. But, when looked at through the lens of principle, it’s another forward stride – akin to the introduction of bills like the “One Subject at a Time Act” and others in Congress.

Your relentless “One Subject at a Time” lobbying likely played a part in this Republican upheaval, both when they initially halted McCarthy’s rise and during his recent removal.

Celebrate this achievement and stay motivated! If you haven’t joined The 300 in your congressional district, on behalf of the “One Subject at a Time Act (OSTA),” now is the time!


And if you’ve already joined, then please contribute or start a monthly pledge to grow this effort.

Set your own agenda,

Jim Babka, President
Agenda Setters by Downsize DC

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