FIRST ON FOX: Texas Republican Rep.-elect Pete Sessions warned that treating the House like the Senate in operation is a ‘dangerous way for us to go.’
Fox News Digital caught up with Sessions in a Thursday phone interview about the ongoing balloting to determine the next House speaker.
Sessions is behind Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy in the race and said that ‘a lot of substance has come up’ amid negotiations, including ‘a discussion about campaign activities that Mr. McCarthy was engaged in against other members of the conference.’
‘A lot of money, a million dollars spent against one of the sitting members in a primary. So there are deep-seated viewpoints about why they fought the way they fought,’ Sessions said. ‘But we have to get to a circumstance where now this is holding back a Republican majority.’
‘And secondly, whether it would simply leave our majority without the strength and power that would be necessary to move and be comfortable moving legislation rather than treating this like it would be the Senate where the leaders would have to check with every person every day where their word could change every day,’ the Texas Republican continued.
‘And that’s a dangerous way for us to go. So we’re now entering what I would consider to be from conversation that’s resolvable to conversation that is very difficult,’ he added.
Sessions, a veteran legislator, said that the House’s arrest brings ‘immediate consequences’ in the chamber’s operation: staff can’t get paid, new and returning members can’t be sat, and ‘diminishes anyone having any real official title’ or ‘duty.’
‘This is just simply delaying our ability to be prepared next week for President Biden when he shows up at the border so that we’re able to effectively tell our story, not just the president of the United States,’ he said. ‘So there are significant reasons why we need to resolve this impasse.’
The former House Rules Committee chairman also said the holdouts were not just targeting McCarthy with their votes for other candidates and that ‘it is one thing to negotiate to be on a committee, to have a say, to see the options that are available.’
‘It is another to take away the power of a majority,’ Sessions said. ‘And obviously, this is aimed directly at not just the speaker, but the rules chairman.’
‘When I was chairman of the House Rules Committee, we needed to be able to have those powers to move not just legislation, but ideas without it taking weeks at a time,’ he continued. ‘And at this point, this looks like this will be a way we will move forward with every single vote that’s called on the floor.’
‘And when you have a rule vote, when you have procedure votes, when you have the bill, when you have a procedure votes in between these, it may take two weeks to work through what a normal bill would be done in two or three days. And so this is obviously slowing down the progress of the majority. So I would be opposed to that.’
The Texas congressman-elect torched the Democrats for ‘enjoying’ the House floor discord but noted ‘it just gives them a chance to worry about what their agenda is,’ such as ‘abortion on demand’ and ‘making sure that our schools’ power is taken away from parents.’
He also said he knows both sides of the situation and that the two-week tally to determine chamber control and the fall and winter holidays made it hard to negotiate before the term started.
‘I know both sides in this negotiation well, and these things are occurring because we did not know until about two weeks after the election who the majority party would be. And so these, combined with what would be Thanksgiving and Christmas, delayed actual negotiation where members get together and have a chance not just to talk, but to hear back from the people who are like Mr. McCarthy or other people who have ideas. And so we’re now doing this as we take the majority.’
Sessions added that Republicans on both sides of the speaker fight ‘want America to address its issues’ and the GOP wants ‘a majority to do that,’ but ‘getting there is a little bit more difficult.’
‘I’ve still had faith and confidence that we can do this, but that window is closing about it being something that would be favorably seen and we need to get on with it,’ Sessions said.
Sessions’ comments come as the House continues to vote to determine its speaker.
The House has voted for three days to determine who will hold the gavel, but the congressional rose ceremony has bore its thorns as McCarthy tries to secure the speakership.
Twenty-one Republican holdouts have not voted for McCarthy amid the multiple ballots and have become more entrenched with each subsequent vote.