Kevin McCarthy, the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, is often referred to as a “speaker in name only.” This is because his powers and authority have been greatly reduced since he was elected to the position in 2019.
The process of McCarthy becoming speaker was a difficult one, marked by 15 rounds of voting and numerous concessions to the conservative MAGA wing of the Republican Party. This resulted in McCarthy being forced to cede significant power and authority to individual members of the party rather than being able to exercise strong leadership as speaker.
One major example of this is the way in which McCarthy is forced to do the bidding of individual members of the party rather than being able to set the agenda and make decisions on his own. For instance, if a party member expresses opposition to a particular piece of legislation or policy, McCarthy must either accede to their demands or risk triggering a vote to vacate the speakership, which would result in him losing his role as speaker.
In addition to this, McCarthy’s authority over the Republican Party’s legislative agenda has also been significantly reduced. For example, in the past, the speaker would have been able to set the legislative priorities for the party and decide which bills to bring to the floor for a vote. However, under McCarthy, individual party members were given more power to set the agenda and decide which bills to bring to the floor.
This has led to a situation in which McCarthy is often seen as a figurehead rather than a powerful leader. He is unable to exert the kind of control and influence that previous speakers have had and is instead forced to rely on the support and cooperation of individual members of the party.
This lack of power continued to play out in public when QAnon supporter Marjorie Tailor Greene, Congresswoman from Georgia, was appointed to two powerful committees, Homeland Security and House Oversight. In addition, pathological liar George Santos was also assigned multiple committee assignments despite their atrocious opinions and dangerous historical rhetoric and assault on the truth.
In conclusion, Kevin McCarthy’s tenure as speaker of the House of Representatives has been marked by a significant reduction in his powers and authority, as a result of concessions made to the conservative MAGA wing of the Republican Party. He is now considered a “speaker in name only,” unable to exert the kind of control and influence that previous speakers have had and is forced to rely on the support and cooperation of individual members of the party.