Rep. Vasquez to introduce McCarthy Act after House speaker showdown

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It took 15 ballots, the fifth-longest speaker vote in American history to elect California Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the new speaker of the House.

As he wraps up his first day in office, members of Congress who were unable to work prior to his election have some ideas to hopefully prevent a repeat of last week’s chaos. That includes New Mexico’s newest member of Congress, Gabe Vasquez.

Vasquez couldn’t be sworn-in until the House speaker was chosen, so now that he’s officially started his first term in office, one of his first orders of business is to introduce the McCarthy Act.

“The McCarthy act is simple, and simply it’s that Congress won’t get paid until the speaker is elected in the future,” said Vasquez. “If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.”

Vasquez says the McCarthy Act is an acronym for “ Mandating Congress Can’t Accept Remuneration For Time Not Helping You Act.”

“I know that’s a mouthful. But that’s a way for folks to remember that this was a time in Congress when we couldn’t work for a week, because a speaker McCarthy’s bid for Speaker obviously didn’t have the votes,” Vasquez said. “If we have a natural disaster, if we have an impact to our national defense, Congress can get things done if we don’t select the speaker.”

The acronym also spells the name of newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. 

Operations in Congress were halted until he was voted in. It took four days and 15 ballots, the longest vote our country’s seen in 164 years.

“I think a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle, both Republicans and Democrats, were very frustrated by this process. And so we hope that we’ll be able to get enough support to make sure that this actually gets a hearing in Congress, and that we’re able to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Vasquez. “We want to make sure that the people of New Mexico, but also the people across this country who elect their representatives to get the services that they need from Congress.”

Vasquez says he will introduce this bill in the coming weeks. Right now, he’s looking for more support from his Democrat and Republican colleagues.