If McCarthy's Out, Who's In?
You can't beat somebody with nobody. Here's who could be the new Speaker
Note: This site can also be accessed by entering FeathersOfHope.net in your browser window.
For new readers, here are links to a few previous posts that will bring you up to date on what the Feathers of Hope network has been doing :
Wait, Exactly How Will We Do This? — (January 28)
Replacing McCarthy - A Progress Report — (February 16)
Moderate Republicans? Really? — (March 2)
Spread The Word, Write or Call Today — (April 6)
Feathers of Hope is a network of ordinary citizens committed to advocating for the removal and replacement of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, thereby diminishing the power and influence of MAGA extremists in the chamber.
We are urging moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives to form a temporary bipartisan majority voting bloc for the purpose of passing a motion to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Republican Speaker who owes nothing to the minority MAGA group.
Call or write to someone on our lists today. Do it again tomorrow. Nothing will help our democratic republic more right now than removing and replacing Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.
House Members’ contact information, along with thumbnail bios can be found here: Now's The Time
Debt Ceiling Update
Before getting to potential replacements for Speaker McCarthy, here’s the latest on what’s happening in the Debt Ceiling “Crisis” that he and his MAGA masters have created.
The press has been widely reporting that negotiations on a bill to raise the limit are underway. And correspondingly, many progressive are lamenting that President Biden has caved to Republicans after declaring that raising the debt ceiling was not subject to negotiations.
In fact, it is the Republicans who’ve caved. President Biden submitted his budget proposal long ago and invited a Republican response. Until now, none has been forthcoming. The negotiations currently taking place are not tied to the debt limit bill, but are about the budget. Lest there be any doubt about this, Mr. Biden spoke directly to reporters on Wednesday morning before leaving for Japan:
“To be clear, this negotiation is about the outlines of what the budget will look like, not about whether or not we’re going to, in fact, pay our debts.”
Of course, his statement was buried deep in stories about ultimatums, red-lines, gimmicks and fault-finding. Ignored as usual was this one crucial fact, which should be prominently featured in press coverage of Kevin McCarthy’s assault on America’s economic health:
There is no conceivable debt-limit / budget-cut package that will garner 218 Republican votes in the House.
Moderates won't agree to all the cuts MAGA wants, and MAGA won't agree to dropping any cuts that moderates won't support. Therefore, the only thing that can be negotiated is a budget outline. The debt limit bill itself will necessarily be one passed by a bipartisan majority.
Kevin McCarthy should be removed from the Speakership, but you can’t replace someone with no one.
In our conversations with congressional aides, we always should be careful to say that his replacement ought to be a moderate Republican. There are a few reasons for this:
Democrats believe in elections and, based on the last election, Republicans are entitled to the Speakership. There are more Republican members than Democrats
The point of our effort is to marginalize and isolate MAGA extremists who are now a dominant force in the House because of their control of the Speaker. It’s only secondarily about Mr. McCarthy himself
If we support a Democrat for Speaker, our effort will be seen as nothing more than a power grab. We’ll never convince any moderate Republicans to hand over the Speakership to the opposition party.
If we can persuade Democratic leadership to support a Republican for Speaker (no small achievement in itself), there will be a new, more cooperative dynamic in the chamber. With the disruptive MAGA minority disempowered, and a Speaker who has bipartisan support, legislators can focus on resolutions rather than confrontations.
There follows four good choices to replace Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.
To be clear, all are Republicans. Therefore, expect that their position on specific issues is likely to be unacceptable to most members of this network. They are categorized as “good choices” only because, unlike the poorly educated life-long politician Kevin McCarthy, each is well-educated and a serious legislator not inclined to grandstanding. Each also had a significant professional career prior to being elected to Congress, and so has a stake in maintaining their personal reputation for honesty and fairness.
Don Bacon: (202) 225-4155 D.C. —— (402) 938-0300 District
2104 Rayburn House Office Building —Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 3906 Gold Circle, Suite 101 — Omaha, NE 68144
Don Bacon is my personal favorite to become Speaker for the rest of this session. It was his statement last November that helped inspire this entire effort to protect the House (and the country) from Kevin McCarthy and his MAGA masters. Foreseeing the potential deadlock likely to come during balloting for the Speakership, he said this:
"If we have total gridlock, I'm going to work with like-minded people across the aisle to find someone agreeable for Speaker. We have to govern. We can't afford to have our country be stuck in neutral." -- Don Bacon (R, NE), November 15, 2022
Aside from that, who is Don Bacon?
Mr. Bacon has been in Congress since 2017. He is a retired Brigadier General, United States Air Force, and has earned four Master’s degrees, including one from the National War College. He represents the city of Omaha and surroundings, which is a swing district (carried by President Biden 52% to 46%). He is one of 13 Republicans to vote with Democrats for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. He also voted with Democrats to establish the January 6 Commission, and opposed efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Earlier this year, Don Bacon was cited as “the least partisan Member of Congress” in a study of “hyper-partisan“ politics by the advocacy group “Starts With Us”. The point of the study was to determine how much press coverage the most partisan politicians generate compared to the least partisan. In Congress that ratio for the 2-month study period was 335 for the most partisan, Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), vs. 34 for the least partisan, Rep. Bacon. (This lack of press coverage illustrates very nicely why so many progressives think that there’s no such thing as a moderate Republican.)
Brian Fitzpatrick: (202) 225-4276 D.C. —— (215) 579-8102 District
2323 Rayburn House Office Building - Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 1717 Langhorne Newtown Rd. Suite 225 — Langhorne, PA 19047
Brian Fitzpatrick caught my attention last year with his statement following the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Though he is personally opposed to abortion, unlike those in State legislatures who could hardly wait to pass abortion restrictions, he said this:
“I urge all state legislatures to always start from a place of empathy and compassion. Any legislative consideration must start with the process of seeing the world through other people’s eyes, and walking the world in other people’s shoes. Any legislative consideration must always seek to achieve bipartisan consensus that both respects a woman’s privacy and autonomy, and also respects the sanctity of human life. These principles are not mutually exclusive; both can and must be achieved.”
“At the core of our democracy must always be the goal of building bridges, not driving wedges. This issue, as sensitive as it is, must be approached in this same manner. With empathy, with understanding, and with compassion. I urge all state legislatures, including in my own state of Pennsylvania, to follow this lead. Support two-party solutions. Reject single-party solutions. Build bridges, don’t drive wedges.”
—Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), June 24, 2022
He followed-up by voting for both the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act and the Right to Contraception Act.
Aside from that, who is Brian Fitzpatrick?
Mr. Fitzpatrick has been in Congress since 2017. He holds both an MBA and JD degrees. Before being elected to represent a suburban Philadelphia district, he was an FBI Special Agent (graduating first in his class at Quantico, the FBI academy). During his 15 years of service, he became the national director of its Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement Program. During the Iraq War he was embedded with U.S. Special Forces.
During his 2016 campaign, Mr. Fitzpatrick said he could not vote for Donald Trump and he opposed building the border wall. He also opposed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and supported the Paris Climate Agreement. He was recently appointed to the United States Group of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (legislators from NATO-member countries working together on globals security issues.)
Brian Fitzpatrick is co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House of Representatives.
Mike Gallagher: (202) 225-5665 D.C. —— (920) 301-4500 District
1211 Longworth HouseOfficeBuilding — Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 1702 Scheuring Road, Suite B — De Pere,WI 54115]
Mike Gallagher is the rare Representative who has used his own experience to seriously study why our Congress is so dysfunctional. In an article written for Atlantic Monthly titled "How to Salvage Congress" , he wrote:
“If you are among the 87 percent of people who are concerned about what is going on in Congress, then I have an important message for you: It’s much worse than you think.”
“The problem is a defective process and a power structure that, whichever party is in charge, funnels all power to leadership and stifles debate and initiative within the ranks.”
After describing the details of this problem, he outlines and explains three ways that the House of Representatives could be improved:
“Change the Congressional Calendar”
“Change How We Choose Committee Chairs”
“Streamline Committee Jurisdiction”
—Mike Gallagher (R-WI), November 13, 2018
This is a very well thought-out and informative piece of writing, I highly recommend it to all who care about the institution: "How to Salvage Congress" .
Aside from that, who is Mike Gallagher?
Mike Gallagher has been in Congress since 2017. He holds 2 Master’s degrees and a PhD from Georgetown University. He served 7 years active duty as a Marine intelligence officer, where he learned to speak Arabic and served on General David Petraus’ Central Command Middle East Assessment Team. Before being elected to represent the solidly Republican Green Bay area of Wisconsin, he was a Republican aide for Middle East, North Africa and Counter-terrorism on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has a history of working with Democratic House Members on tariffs, jobs, veterans affairs and cybersecurity issues.
In a 2018 interview on Fox News about “culture war” issues, Mr. Gallagher criticized Donald Trump’s affinity for “side shows distracting from real issues.” He opposed efforts to overturn the 2020 election and voted for the Respect for Marriage Act (marriage equality law passed in 2022).
David Joyce: (202) 225-5731 D.C. —— (440) 352-3939 District
2065 Rayburn House Office Building -- Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 8500 Station Street, Suite 390 — Mentor, OH 44060
David Joyce came to my attention the day before the 118th Congress assembled on January 3. Prof. Robert Reich, a prominent Progressive who served as Secretary of Labor in the Bill Clinton administration, published on Substack a warning of potential MAGA dominance in the House if Kevin McCarthy were to become Speaker. As an alternative Prof. Reich made this suggestion:
“Does this mean the rest of us have to sit back and allow a tiny minority of extreme rightwing MAGA House Republicans controlled by Donald Trump to hijack congressional Republicans, who in turn will hijack the entire House, and thereby much of Congress?
No. There’s an alternative, and I urge House Democrats and the few remaining “moderate” Republicans to take it: Make Ohio’s Republican Rep. David Joyce the Speaker of the House.
House Dems and moderate Republicans could come up with the 218 votes to put Joyce over the top.”
“Joyce is not a MAGA Republican. He refused to sign the Texas amicus brief that tried to overturn the results of the presidential election. He was also one of the few Republican House members who did not object to the counting of electoral college votes on January 6, 2021.”
Aside from that, who is David Joyce?
David Joyce has been in Congress since 2012, representing the suburban area East of Cleveland to the Pennsylvania border. Before his election he was a practicing attorney who served first as a public defender, then as a prosecutor.
In 2017, Mr. Joyce voted against repeal of Obamacare, opposed efforts to overturn the 2020 election and is chairman of the Republican Governance Group. As a candidate for Speaker, he seems less likely to be attractive to Democrats in the House than the three mentioned above. But he’s included here because of Mr. Reich’s endorsement, which continued with this:
“Since Biden became president, Joyce has voted in line with Biden’s positions over 30 percent of the time. He was one of 35 Republicans who joined all Democrats in approving legislation to establish the January 6 commission to investigate the storming of the US Capitol. He and 46 other Republicans voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, codifying the right to same-sex marriage in federal law.
Overall, Joyce’s politics are similar to Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s. “Everybody’s a Joe Manchin,” Joyce said a few weeks ago.”
Joyce wants to keep swing-district Republicans out of the harm’s way coming from the Freedom Caucus and other MAGA conservatives. . . . “There’s some exotics that like chaos, they thrive in chaos because that’s how they get the media,” Joyce told the Washington Post.”
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