‘We Have to Fight for Something’: Chip Roy Calls for Bolder Leadership in 118th Congress

‘We Have to Fight for Something’: Chip Roy Calls for Bolder Leadership in 118th Congress
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) speaks at a press conference, alongside members of the Second Amendment Caucus, outside the U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, on March 8, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) demanded that congressional Republicans be bold in their use of power during the 118th Congress as the GOP appears poised to reclaim the House.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post titled “Leadership is not a title. It’s an action,” Roy called for his party to use all the tools at their disposal to check President Joe Biden’s White House.

Roy was happy enough with the projected outcome of the midterms, the results of which seem likely to put Republicans back in the majority after four years away.

This majority, Roy wrote, “offers oversight power and a powerful check, currently absent in Congress, on an administration recklessly wielding executive power.”

Roy Blasts McCarthy, McConnell

Still, the results fell short of GOP expectations.

Where Republicans expected a “red wave,” one senior House aide who asked to remain anonymous freely told the Epoch Times that GOP leadership delivered “a red trickle.”

Republicans should take the meaning of their worse-than-expected performance to heart, Roy said in his op-ed. He echoed sentiments that the results were the result, in part, of “tepid” leadership.

“Why that happened [the GOP not taking as many seats as expected] is not just an academic question for cable news talking heads—it’s central to charting our next steps,” he wrote.

Roy also blasted the optics pushed by both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

McConnell, Roy wrote, “refused to offer an agenda, even panning the effort by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) to do so and committing the Senate to running on an anti-Biden platform.”

Roy here is referencing a feud between McConnell and Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

As NRSC chairman, Scott is in charge of GOP fundraising and electioneering efforts.

In the position, Scott bumped heads with McConnell over optics, with Scott pushing an “11-point plan” replete with 128 specific policy proposals.

McConnell criticized several proposals put forward by Scott, and instead encouraged Republicans to focus on opposition to Biden’s America.

Little better can be said for McCarthy, Roy wrote.

“The House ‘leadership’ play,” Roy said, “was to offer an eleventh-hour, tepid, and weak ‘Commitment to America,’ which few people knew about, much less cared about, and which said both everything and nothing.”

Roy is referencing McCarthy’s “Commitment to America” plan, which included a litany of policy promises on various issues. Around the same time, Roy unveiled his own plan that focused on more populist policies than McCarthy’s did.
“The leadership failed to produce the kind of concrete plan and bold strategy the moment required,” Roy added.

A New Approach

Instead, Roy said, Republicans need to take a new approach from the way they’ve run things in the House.

“The ‘People’s House’ was designed by our founders specifically to speak for the people; that’s why we are limited to two-year terms and vested with the ‘power of the purse,’” he wrote. “For us to earn the people’s support requires more than the pursuit of money, power, and reelection for the sake of it.”

Roy said that in the past, Republicans have been unwilling to use all tools at their disposal to fight Democrats and the Biden White House.

This, Roy insisted, has to change: “Words are not enough. We have to stand for something. We have to fight for something.”

Fighting for something and moving away from business as usual, Roy said, “requires a willingness to take on real political risk to fight for the people.”

Republicans Should Take Notes From DeSantis

Such a risk was taken by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Roy said, and voters repaid him. Republicans should take notes, Roy suggested.

DeSantis, who won a 20-point landslide victory over Democrat Charlie Crist, “crushed his Democratic competition” because he was willing to take such risks, Roy said.

Congress has been less bold, he continued.

“We, congressional Republicans, have taken no such political risk thus far,” Roy contended. “Our leadership has not demonstrated the willingness to use all the tools at our disposal to check a radical White House and fight for the people suffering from its policies.”

He listed a litany of GOP concerns, including vaccine mandates, “rampant spending,” a series of “blank checks” to Ukraine, the unprecedented rate of illegal immigration via the southern border, and the fentanyl epidemic. All of these, Roy said, have not been opposed adequately by the party.

Roy said that now that they seem set to take the majority in the lower chamber, “it’s time” for Republicans to lead.

Whatever the shortcomings of the returns in the midterms, Roy wrote, “these unforced errors need not define us. Now, we have an opportunity to paint with bright, bold colors and lead. It’s time.”

“It’s time we demonstrate resolve to restore common sense to national leadership and demand that we actually change the broken ways of Washington. It’s time to get back to basics, embrace expansive federalism, and radically empower the people so that we can agree to disagree and not constantly be at each other’s throats.”

One part of the way to do this, Roy said, is to make certain changes to the way Congress has legislated in the past.

He called for Congress to only address a single issue in bills, to limit the length of those bills—some Democrat legislative packages have exceeded 2,000 pages during the 117th Congress—and to balance the federal budget.

Policy Proposals

Roy laid out a series of policy proposals for Republicans to take up during the 118th Congress.

Among these, Roy called for changes to the rules about congressmen buying and selling stocks.

“We should restore trust in Congress by restricting, in particular, members’ buying of securities and stocks,” Roy wrote.

The issue has grown in prevalence during the 117th Congress, particularly amid questions about the trading habits of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers.

Roy also said that Republicans have to put an end to Democrats’ spending habits.

During the 117th Congress, Democrats have spent several trillions of dollars. Three bills alone—the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act—round out to nearly $4 trillion out of taxpayers’ wallets.

“We must stop spending money we do not have. Period,” Roy wrote. “It’s causing inflation, weakening our security, and selling out our children’s inheritance. It’s funding a federal bureaucracy that strains our differences, worsens our tensions, and erodes our God-given liberties. We can’t just promise it; we have to stop it.”

Republicans also must do more to counter the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI, Roy contended.

In a recent 1,050-page report, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee laid out a litany of offenses by the FBI and DOJ that they said suggested that the department has been “weaponized” against conservatives.

Investigating and chastising Attorney General Merrick Garland, particularly in light of the FBI’s unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, has become a top GOP priority.

“We must end the politicization and weaponization of government against Americans in advance of radical woke ideology,” Roy wrote.

Roy also called for Republicans to “restore sovereignty and the rule of law” by securing the border.

Though border security is largely handled by the executive branch, Republicans do have tools to force concessions from Biden: particularly the power of the purse, by which Republicans could refuse to fund crucial executive departments like the Department of Homeland Security until changes are made.

Roy also said that Republicans ought to work to “end the assault on reliable American energy ... in the irrational pursuit of unreliable energy.”

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, the cost of gasoline and other energy sources to consumers has already seen a substantial uptick. Though Biden managed to wrangle prices down a bit by pulling from the United States’ strategic reserves of oil, prices remain substantially higher than they were a year ago.

Republicans have placed the blame for rising costs squarely on Biden’s “anti-American” domestic energy policies.
While in office, Biden made extensive changes to the energy policies of former President Donald Trump, who led America to become energy independent for the first time in decades. Biden, who promised during his campaign to “transition away from the fossil fuel industry,” wasted no time in halting construction on the Keystone XL pipeline and placing a moratorium on leasing federal lands to natural gas and oil companies.

‘Existential Questions’

These and other issues, Roy contended, are “existential” questions that must be addressed for the nation to thrive “to be strong and to co-exist as a free people.”

Addressing these questions will require more than mere oversight hearings, probes, and investigations, the Texas Republican wrote.

“We must have large-scale Church Committee-style hearings to expose brazen abuses of power from NIH to FBI and everywhere in between by so many in this administration,” he said.

But, he added, “We must not just expose that abuse of power, we must address it.”

Oversight alone, he wrote, “is not enough”: Republicans must in addition take full advantage of their power of the purse during the 118th Congress.

“It is our duty to use the power of the purse boldly to force the Biden administration to the table to make changes,” Roy said.

Wrapping up his op-ed, Roy said in sum: “We must only support leaders who trust us to do our jobs as elected members of Congress, are clear about where they wish to take us, and who have demonstrated the resolve to take us there.”

“Leadership is not a title; it’s an action. It’s something demonstrated and followed.”

At the time of publication, The Epoch Times projects that Republicans have locked down control of 210 House seats to Democrats’ 195 seats.

30 seats remain uncalled; of those, Republicans are leading in 11 races, while Democrats are leading in 19.

If these leads hold, the House is looking at a composition of 221 Republicans and 214 Democrats.

These are concerning numbers for McCarthy, who would need to sway all but three members of his caucus to achieve his goal of becoming the next speaker of the House.

And Roy is not the only one who has expressed some reservations about McCarthy’s ambitions for the gavel: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) spoke for one wing of the Republican Party in calling not to barrel ahead with McCarthy as speaker.

“I would say maybe not so fast. Maybe we should have a good discussion within the confines of our internal body,” Biggs said on FrankSpeech TV’s “The Absolute Truth With Emerald Robinson.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has also expressed opposition to McCarthy’s ambitions, setting the stage for conflict in the ranks of the GOP early next year.

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