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From 'Never Kevin' to convert: Gaetz 'would give Speaker McCarthy an A for his work so far'

As a result of horse-trading during prolonged standoff over House speaker election, "we are in possession of far more tools that will help us get to those policy outcomes that we want," said Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Published: February 6, 2023 11:12pm

Updated: February 8, 2023 4:34pm

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who opposed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during the speaker election until voting present in the 15th round, told Just the News that he gives McCarthy "an A for his work so far" in the new session of Congress.

"I would give Speaker McCarthy an A for his work so far at the beginning of the 118th Congress, and we are in possession of far more tools that will help us get to those policy outcomes that we want," Gaetz said in an interview Monday. "Look, I want strong borders. I want budgets that balance. And I want bureaucrats held in check. And now, as a result of what we went through in early January, we have the tools to evaluate spending legislation — not all together at once in some 4,000-page bill, but in individual appropriations bills." 

Gaetz highlighted the resurrection of the Holman Rule, a powerful, long-dormant tool for taming the federal bureaucracy. "We can offer cuts to the salaries of specific bureaucrats if they've turned against the people," he said. "And we have a special subcommittee, which I'm proud to serve on, that will focus on the weaponization of this government against our people."

Gaetz, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, applauded the way McCarthy has been handling the debt limit situation.

"Undeniably, the debt limit is the next big challenge that the Congress faces, and I think Speaker McCarthy has done a great job insisting that the president negotiate these matters, that we talk about agreed-upon areas for spending cuts, and if we're able to achieve that, it will be a win win for the country, for the House and for President Biden even," he said.

Gaetz, who is pushing for budget cuts in exchange for a vote to increase the nation's $31.4 trillion debt limit, suggested banning illegal immigrants from collecting the child tax credit (CTC) and earned income tax credit (EITC). Currently, illegal immigrants with tax ID numbers can file tax returns to claim the CTC. Illegal immigrants using Social Security numbers to file tax returns can claim the EITC. 

"Right now, there's $74 billion that we can save during a 10-year budget window, if we just don't give tax breaks to illegal aliens," he said. "Another idea: Claw back some of the COVID dollars that have been sent out to states and haven't been utilized or that have not yet even been sent to states."

Gaetz noted that the GOP-led House voted to end the national emergency for COVID.

"It seems crazy to continue to spend nearly half a trillion dollars that we could otherwise repatriate to the national treasury," he said. "And when it comes to policy changes, I'm for work requirements. Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton were able to make a deal around 'Welfare to Work' that increased labor participation, it drove economic growth, and it got people off the dole and off the couch. That should be something that Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together toward."

Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Good, who strongly opposed McCarthy for speaker, also told Just the News that he's "doing a great job." Good is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. 

"He is reflecting the conservative core of the conference. He's doing and saying the right things and we're united as a conference behind him," he said during an interview with Just the News.

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