Opinion: A path ahead for Republicans in U.S. House

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The fight to replace U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was one of the most embarrassing, bruising and frustrating issues that I’ve dealt with as a member of Congress.

For three weeks, the House was paralyzed. Now, that’s not to say there wasn’t good work happening. The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Budget Committee, which I have the pleasures of serving on, held hearings, markups, and moved the needle on key policy priorities. But during that time, we couldn’t pass bills, which is the number one responsibility of the legislative body.

The seriousness of this situation really came into full view when Hamas launched its Oct. 7th attack on Israel, sending the region into a destabilizing war. While Israel was fighting for its right to exist and our Jewish friends and neighbors mourned the loss of loved ones, the House was unable to act because of a battle over personalities. I’m glad that the very first piece of legislation we passed under Speaker Mike Johnson was a resolution in support of Israel that denounced Hamas, which was quickly followed by the passage of a fully offset aid package, but it was a powerful and disappointing moment to see the United States unable to step in swiftly and help the strongest democracy in the Middle East maintain its sovereignty against terrorists who murder children and civilians.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA) is seen at a Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on July 12th, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

It’s no secret that I supported Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. During his tenure, we advanced meaningful bills to unleash American energy dominance, restore law and order, fix the crisis at our southern border, boost our economy and more. The decision to remove him was wrong and vengeful, but it’s time to move forward. The work of the people will not go unfinished and House Republicans are united around Speaker Mike Johnson, who is a man of deep faith and conviction, a constitutional expert and an exceptional choice as Speaker of the House.

In his first few days as Speaker, Mike Johnson set forth what I hope and expect will be the tone of his speakership: fiscal responsibility. Before his swearing in, Johnson said in a speech on the House floor that, “The greatest threat to our national security is our nation’s debt … . We have to get the country back on track… . We are going to establish a bipartisan debt commission to begin working on this crisis immediately. Immediately.” Johnson is already following through on this promise by redirecting money from the bloated and weaponized IRS to Israel and giving each of the remaining appropriations bills its own consideration on the House floor.

When Republicans fight the Democrats on policy, we win, because that is how we deliver results for Americans. Time spent debating personalities is time wasted. The House Republican majority can ill-afford to waste another minute of legislating, especially now when Bidenomics is bleeding hardworking American taxpayers dry.

House Republicans have some rebuilding to do, and we have already done a lot of it, but don’t confuse growing pains with fractures. Like America herself, our party is strengthened when we face challenges.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, represents the 1st Congressional District of Georgia. He sits on the House Budget and Energy and Commerce committees.