Ross: This speaker election is some of the most spirited debate in years

Jan 6, 2023, 7:39 AM | Updated: 9:23 am

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., nominates Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., for the ninth vote in the House chamber as the House meets for the third day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

For those of you wondering why some Republicans are so determined to keep Kevin McCarthy from becoming Speaker – I heard a passionate argument from one of the Never-Kevin Congressmen – Representative Matt Rosendale of Montana.

He said this debate is exactly what Congress needs. Because it’s the kind of debate that almost never happens anymore, not even when billion-dollar pending bills come up for a vote. All Congress does is wave them through.

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“Typically, Monday at the beginning of the week, the leadership on both sides negotiate 15 to 20 pieces of legislation and have one Democrat and one Republican stand on this floor. They discussed momentarily, and then they say the magic words,” Rosendale said. “Without objection, we will pass this by unanimous consent.

“There are two people standing on the floor passing pieces of legislation that spend millions and tens of millions of dollars that the taxpayers are obligated to cover. And their representative was not even here to vote upon it. And that, my friends, is wrong,” he continued.

He wants a Speaker who will make debates like this the rule, not the exception.

“We have had more discussion and debate over the last three days than I have participated in on this floor for the last two years; we’re having discussions not just within our own party but amongst each other,” Rosendale said.

It’s a beautiful dream.

Here’s the only problem with that. As much as we all like a vigorous debate, the federal budget is huge. Just the discretionary part is 1 trillion, 600 billion dollars. And even if you split the workload among the 435 members of Congress, that puts each member in charge of 3.6 billion dollars.

I’m sure they’re all very smart people, but this is America – where you can spend weeks debating the PTA bake sale.

So elect your dream Speaker and have your vigorous budget debate.

But my guess is after a few weeks of 10-hour days immersed in balance sheets, most of them will wish they’d signed up for the Hunter Biden investigation instead.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: This speaker election is some of the most spirited debate in years