Explaining his holdout for 11 votes against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry, R-Pa., said Sunday the move was made to earn leverage for rank-and-file members.
"Frederick Douglas, who knew something about power, said, 'Power concedes nothing without a demand' – never has and never will – this was never about Kevin McCarthy," Perry told ABC's "This Week." "This is about power for the American people.
"And with all due respect, Nancy Pelosi ran Congress like a prison camp, with no accountability."
Perry was among 15 of the 21 staunch holdouts against McCarthy to flip their vote against the GOP leader to McCarthy. The final six held out until the bitter – and volatile – end, only relenting to vote "present" to permit McCarthy to win the speaker's gavel with 216 votes, less than the 218 majority required if all 434 House members had voted.
"You know, the American people are very, very tired of this gang of seven, gang of eight, literally seven or eight people, or just a few people in Washington, D.C., running all of the policy for the American people," Perry told ABC.
"So, when we had a framework of an agreement where the American people can be in charge, when their representatives can actually bring amendments to the floor in good faith, said, 'Sure, if we can do that, then I'm all in.'"
Having single-issue appropriation legislation is a long overdue change for the House, among the myriad House rules to come, Perry continued.
"The American people, among other things, are tired of these Christmas tree bills with all these ornaments on them coming for – in the middle of night, 4,000 pages, $1.7 trillion, 7,200 earmarks: Everything works perfectly for Washington, D.C., but there's no presents under the tree for the American people," Perry said. "And so restraining those things and getting those things in order, it's an entire package. It's not just one thing."
Perry denounced President Joe Biden for suggesting limits on the debt ceiling would not be negotiated, as spendthrift Democrats control the Senate and the White House.
"I think everybody should negotiate," Perry said. "I don't know why President Biden says he's not going to negotiate. I mean that's what this is all about, so that all the voices of the American citizens are being heard, not just the voices that voted for President Biden or, quite honestly, not just the voices that voted for Kevin McCarthy or Scott Perry, but every single voice.
"Saying you're not going to negotiate, I think, is an untenable and unacceptable position for almost every single American no matter if you're on the left, right, or on the center – in the center."
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