Wait, Are All the Adults in the Room in Favor of the Debt Ceiling Deal?

As previously reported, the House Freedom Caucus held a press conference on Tuesday in stark opposition to the McCarthy-Biden debt ceiling deal. Many of the caucus members were also the opposition faction to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s Speakership during the 15 rounds of voting in January. Recalling that time, I was critical of Rep. Lauren Boebert’s bombastic rhetoric and made-for-TV stunting alongside Rep. Matt Gaetz and others.


I remember that early in the voting rounds the holdouts had nominated Rep. Jim Jordan for speaker, even though he didn’t want the position. Later they had to find other placeholder nominees, which signaled that they were protest voting and didn’t have a path to victory, because they didn’t even plan for one. Even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t go along with the opposition, and that lady will heckle and jeer at the drop of a dime.

Maybe they got some concessions in rulemaking; perhaps it was a true victory that was somewhat lost on me. What I knew was that it would be McCarthy, inevitably. And I knew that some voices I trusted well beyond the credence I give to the Freedom Caucus members weren’t among the opposition voices – and, those members were probably not seeking an evening newscast interview, but would end up with appointments to committees; to do actual work that Americans put them there to do, instead.

House Justice Garland
Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

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House Freedom Caucus Slams the Debt Ceiling Deal

Thomas Massie has been in Congress for over a decade now. He’s a trusted conservative, even touted in libertarian circles for his brand of liberty, and taking outlier stands if he finds them to be principled. He was notably absent from the opposition to McCarthy’s bid for speaker, even for the purpose of getting rule concessions. It stood out to me because I considered Massie “the first to vote no.” He’s premier opposition-grade Congressional brass. 


Here’s a series of tweets from Massie, who seems pretty excited to see a bill that he says “actually cuts spending.” And, hey, maybe that’s why Senator Lindsey Graham (R) is so bent about it. 


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On Tuesday night, Massie wrote:

I respect opposition to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, but I am voting yes. I’ve been in Congress for a decade and this is the first real bill that cuts spending. It also includes an automatic 1% cut to spending on January 1 if Congress doesn’t pass the 12 appropriations bills.

In response to a recent law school grad in Kentucky’s analysis that a 1 percent reduction in spending amounts to $62 billion, Massie wrote:

It will be the first cut since I was elected to Congress. In the past, we’ve gotten absolutely nothing for raising the debt limit.

When faced with criticism about what the bill doesn’t accomplish the “Sassy with Massie” persona emerged, with the Congressman writing:


It also doesn’t stop abortion, abolish the ATF or guarantee world peace!

But he wasn’t the only notable Congressman I noticed wasn’t making headlines and stands. Rep. Jim Jordan wasn’t warring against the process, either. Jordan has been in Congress for 16 years and is a much recognized conservative figure as the previous ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, and now the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Jordan is a founder of the House Freedom Caucus, starting with Tea Partiers, and was the longest-serving chair of the caucus. He’s been MIA from their public stands, in totality. Instead, he’s hunting down the weaponization of the Federal government. Where is Jordan on this issue? He’s retweeting Massie, actually.

The freshman Congressman from California, Kevin Kiley, has been a favorite of mine since his time in the California Assembly. He took stands that nobody else was willing to, called for the anti-freelancer law AB-5 to be overhauled on an emergency status, asking for a vote to suspend normal procedure to do so. It was brave – and the right thing to do, since Californians were economically bleeding amid the perfect storm of retroactive penalties for conducting business in a then-legal manner and the pandemic aid kerfuffle. Now he’s bringing truth to light about Biden’s Labor nominee, Julie Su, and her culpability in the loss of $30+ billion in unemployment benefits to fraud in California, putting her bid in serious jeopardy – as it should be.


Not only this, Kiley sued the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom (D) and was joined by colleague Assemblyman James Gallagher (R) in self-representing on the case. Not only did the conservative duo opt to be their own attorneys, but they won the case, righting the ship on Newsom’s breach of the separation of powers by rewriting the law during the COVID era. So, pardon my fangirling, but in California it’s unheard of to sue the governor, self-represent, and win. Unless you are Kevin Kiley. Kiley earned the trust we instilled in him, long before he was on the national stage. But, like the aforementioned conservatives, Kiley was not part of the McCarthy opposition club, and he isn’t making noise about the debt ceiling deal, either. Kiley is silent on the debt ceiling issue, as he was during the speaker battle, and it’s not because he ever backs down from taking a hard position. 

There are 435 Members in the House, with 222 Republicans. I picked three to highlight because they were the same ones I was looking for during the Speaker battle. Feel free to pick a handful of representatives that you like and trust to use as a litmus test to cut through the rhetoric on any issue, not just this one. For me, the opposition isn’t holding up to snuff based on the people I am confident in acting in the interests of the American people, and not self-interests of making Congress into a reality TV show. 


Massie is a worthy figure to consider on this issue. After all, he walks around with a copper-encased electronic lapel pin that he created himself, displaying a real-time ticker of the national debt clock. Or you can listen to Boebert. Or whoever you want. That’s your choice, but choose wisely. 


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