FIRST ON FOX: Georgia Republican Rep.-elect Austin Scott says the GOP holdouts on voting for caucus Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have ‘slowed’ down their planned probes of President Biden, but vowed to ‘make up the time.’
Scott hopped on the phone with Fox News Digital as the House heads into its third day of voting to determine the House speaker after six ballots that have not yet yielded a choice.
So far, 21 Republicans are holding out on voting for McCarthy to take the gavel, but, in doing so, have brought the House to a grinding halt. Scott said there are ‘consequences’ of the House not being operative — members can’t be sworn-in, legislation can’t be taken up, and ‘issues like the border’ can’t be addressed.
‘It has definitely slowed us down, that is the bad part of what has happened,’ Scott said. ‘I wish that these discussions had happened months ago, but we are where we are.’
‘It may mean that instead of working four days a week, we have to work five days a week after we’re seated. So we can make up the time and we will make up the time,’ the Georgia Republican vowed.
Scott, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the American public ‘wants to know about Afghanistan,’ what’s happening at the border, and ‘how we are going to pay for the massive spending increase that passed this past December.’
The congressman-elect noted that those issues will be investigated once the Republicans get to work in the chamber after the speaker is elected.
‘So we’re several days behind. But you know what? There’s seven days in a week,’ Scott said. ‘And if we have to work on Saturdays, that may be what we have to do.’
‘So we’re going to be okay,’ he added.
Scott also said the ‘number one issue that’s not talked about enough’ for him is the growing national debt ‘and what the interest on the national debt is going to do to the average working American.’
The Georgia congressman-elect said that ‘some of the budget rules that are being drafted will stop the Senate from doing what they’ve done, regardless of who has been in charge, whether it be Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer or Harry Reid.’
‘I mean, the Senate Republicans have voted with the Democrats, at least enough of them have, to jam through big spending items like they did this past omnibus bill,’ Scott said. ‘And you know, our rules in the House of Representatives when we adopt that are no longer going to allow them to do that.’
Scott said that he knows that Rep.-elect Chip Roy, R-Texas, one of the 21 GOP holdouts not voting for McCarthy, is as ‘frustrated’ as he is ‘with the spending increases and with the Senate being able to adopt things at the last minute and send it to the House and say ‘take it or leave it.’’
He also said that he believes that his Texan colleague is ‘having an honest discussion about how we stop the continued increases in spending, especially from the national debt, which is at $30 trillion, and interest rates moving up, and the amount of federal spending that’s going to take away,’ and noted he has chatted with Roy about ‘potential rule changes’ he believes ‘are good for the country.’
‘So, again, as long as we’re having an honest discussion and move in the right direction, then I’d rather get to the right spot with the right guys. Kevin McCarthy is our speaker of the House,’ Scott said, calling the discussion about federal spending ‘honorable.’
Scott said he believes the Congressional Leadership Fund’s deal to not spend money in solid Republican districts was ‘helpful’ in McCarthy’s quest for speaker and that the move was ‘a fiscally responsible thing for us as Republicans not to spend money in if we know we’re going to have a Republican there.’
‘I think that’s probably a win-win,’ he added.
Additionally, Scott took shots at House Democrats for their demeanor amid the speaker ballots, saying ‘it’s easy to be the loser of the election’ like how the Democrats lost control of the House in the 2022 midterms,
‘So they lost the last election and they get to sit over there and eat popcorn, and to be honest with you, a lot of those Democrats will eat popcorn even after Kevin McCarthy’s seated as speaker and just be obstructionist,’ the Georgia Republican said. ‘They’re having fun right now.’
Scott also noted that President Biden and the Democrats are the people ‘loving’ the chaos and encouraged Americans of the faith to pray amid the House speaker elections. Additionally, he also said he feels ‘good’ about the path forward to getting the House up and running.
‘Governing isn’t easy. Our democracy is important and our country is important. And so I would ask people of the faith to be praying for the public to know the truth and those who are trying to do good, to be successful and move this country in a direction that would be pleasing to God.’
Scott’s thoughts come as the House gears up to vote again to get McCarthy behind the speaker’s dais.
McCarthy faces an uphill battle as the third day kicks off with 21 entrenched House Freedom Caucus Republicans voting for candidates outside the GOP leader.
The GOP leader needs to secure 16 votes to gain the gavel, but the party holdouts have quickly become McCarthy’s silver hammer.