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Cammack on the agenda for the 118th Congress: “stopping the bleeding, first and foremost”

Rep. Kat Cammack at Governor DeSantis’ press conference in Newberry, September 13, 2021

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

We had an opportunity to sit down for an interview recently with District 3 Congresswoman Kat Cammack, who wanted Alachua Chronicle readers to know what she’s been working on.

Recovering funds for local citizens

Cammack said her office has just crossed over $3 million returned to local residents in the district—seniors, veterans, and families—from federal agencies. She said it’s been difficult to work with the various agencies because the Biden administration is lagging in appointing people such as congressional liaisons, undersecretaries, and interim officials in agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). 

The NPRC keeps records needed by veterans, and Cammack says it has been shut down since the beginning of COVID: “And we’ve caught them in multiple lies. They said, ‘We’ve sent people home with scanners and computers.’ And then they messed up and a year later said, ‘We’re just now sending people home with computers and scanners to scan in requested documents.’ And so there’s conflicting information, we’ve got people that are waiting for critical procedures, and they’re in the middle of appeals, and they’re not getting the information that they need in order to actually go through the process at the VA. So we’re actually planning on going out there in person to basically track down what the heck is going on over there.”

Cammack also said the IRS has not processed close to a million tax returns, and the agency is holding up people’s refunds and, in some cases, charging interest and fees because of their own delays. She said the Biden Administration tried to add 80,000+ agents to perform audits instead of processing returns as part of the Build Back Better bill; that bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.  

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Looking forward to the 118th Congress

Cammack is particularly excited about planning the agenda for the next Congress, working on the assumption that Republicans will take back the House: “We’re going to be pushing wholeheartedly to get Critical Race Theory out of our schools, dismantling the mandates at all levels, really empowering parents to get back control of their children’s education—everything from medical decisions to what their kids are being taught. The mandates are a huge part of that.”

She and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) have introduced the Stopping Mandates And Limiting Large Government Overreach By Valuing Truth Act (SMALL GOVT Act) that prevents federal funds for COVID-19 mandates or for organizations that discriminate on the basis of COVID vaccination status. Cammack is also a sponsor of the America Reopens Act by Congressman Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), which would remove all COVID mandates.

Cammack said she fought successfully to prevent dishonorable discharges for military members who did not accept a COVID shot by making an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act with that provision. She said she also fought to prevent the military from taking retaliatory action against any service member who does not take a COVID shot, but “the Democrats shot that down, and we’re in the minority and that’s something we just could not negotiate and didn’t get that through. But [the COVID vaccine mandate] will be taken off the books immediately, come the 118th Congress, starting in January.”

“People are going to go to jail”

Cammack says her office has spent “an incredible amount of time working… to really break down how we are going to actually move the needle… to actually start taking our country back. You have to work so strategically and so smart and focused on key issues because those become the building blocks that you need to handle before you go to the next step. 

“And so we’re in the process right now of building what I’m calling the ‘Accountability Agenda’ for the 118th, because people are going to go to jail. They have to. The things that have happened, the gross overreach and power grabs that have occurred under this administration in the last two years have been horrific.”

Holding agencies and appointees accountable

She said she also hopes to hold the Department of Justice (DOJ) accountable, “a very, very narrow scope going into DOJ that basically starts the unraveling of all of it. And I’m talking DOJ, and the January 6, the Russian dossier, going into the FEC violations from Hillary… funding this witch hunt and the dossier… I want Eric Holder held accountable for Fast and Furious, I want [to impeach] Secretary Mayorkas… The NIH, the NSF, and the CDC, and Dr. Fauci—I think they should be very, very scared for what’s coming. We’ve already collectively sent over document preservation requests; by law they have to preserve every single communication related to the scope of our request, and that includes on their personal devices.”

Cammack acknowledged that if the 118th Congress does not conduct oversight, “no one will ever trust the representatives in Washington or in Tallahassee ever again, and there’s a lot of broken trust that needs to be restored.” But she also said that Congress will have to deal with “a deeply complex web” of trying to set an agenda, executing that agenda, getting it through the Senate, all while knowing it will likely “die a sad death on Biden’s desk” but doing it in such a way that “he is a one-term president.”

Impeaching Biden

Regarding impeaching Biden, Cammack said, “Everyone says we’re going to impeach Biden. Okay, great. Kamala comes next. ‘Well, just impeach her.’ Okay. You do realize that she appoints the vice president that comes after her. So then you just impeach, impeach, impeach, impeach, impeach?… One, are you willing to expend the time and effort, the money that goes into that, and then you set the precedent [where you just impeach back and forth for political reasons]… I think the most effective way to end this miserable experience of the Biden administration is to overwhelmingly turn people out to vote and make sure that there’s no question at all [that he has no mandate for his policies].”

Cammack and other Republicans are working on a plan that they will roll out in late July or August, with all of the legislation already drafted at that point and a goal of getting it all passed out of the House and Senate and on Biden’s desk in the first two quarters of 2023. “And at that point, we will have had a mandate and an overwhelming midterm wave, and he’s going to have to make the decision, and the politics for him is going to be a major factor. If he doesn’t sign that, he goes against the mandate from the midterms, which sets the stage great for us in the Republican Party, and it basically breaks the Democrats and their plan moving forward. So it’s a thoughtful approach to both the political side, as well as the policy side, and stopping the bleeding, first and foremost, but really setting the stage for our nominee in 2024 to take back the White House.”

Fighting the Green New Deal

Regarding the Green New Deal, Cammack said she put forward a bill to strike all funding for the Green New Deal, both in the United States and for the United Nations. She said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to give the United Nations $8 billion for a global Green New Deal initiative, “and our office was the one that struck it.” But Cammack says that Democrats continue to insert components of the Green New Deal into “every single piece of legislation. And because we are one of the only offices, possible the only office, that reads the bills, we’re catching all these weird little things that are getting tucked into the bills, that are their attempts to build out the Green New Deal.”

Cammack said the Democrats recently put forward a provision to stand up the Civilian Climate Corps initiative, “which is a propaganda arm of the Green New Deal that is supposed to just be a bunch of people in a room, pumping out propaganda to try to sell the American people on the Green New Deal. It’s every single piece of legislation—no matter where you look, no matter what topic it is, they continue to try to put these elements within the legislation. That’s how they are trying to take this all over.”

Reforming the House rules package

We asked her whether there is any appetite to go back to single-topic bills, and in response she explained how the rules package adopted by each Congress governs that. The majority party dictates the rules package, and in the 117th Congress, “Pelosi put in a waiver element on the 72-hour rule to read a bill. She also waived a supermajority to raise taxes, as well as a litany of other issues in the rules package.” Cammack said the rules package “is perhaps the most important piece of legislation that you vote on,” and it gets very little attention in the media.

She said she will introduce a few things into the rules package for the 118th Congress, including single-topic bills and a prohibition on naming bills because the names given to bills “have nothing to do with the actual thing that it’s going to do. I want to get rid of the names because I think they’re incredibly deceptive.”

She also wants to incorporate a new rule about the elapsed time between putting a bill on the calendar and voting on it: “You should have more than 72 hours to read these bills. And I think that you should also have an option to request that the bills be read out loud on the House floor. That right now is not allowed.”

Cammack elaborated, “This is where I think our founding fathers were brilliant. They deliberately designed a system that was meant to move slow. Because the change that needed to happen, it would happen in due time. And the change that was needed, or wanted, to happen for political reasons, that could be potentially very damaging and irreversible, it couldn’t happen. And I think the Democrats have done a heck of a job in dismantling these protections that have governed the House and the rules of the House so that it could fit their narrative in a way where they could get it done quickly and no one would notice.”

Fighting against big government programs

She said Republicans are fighting against the “agenda of dependency and control, the dependency on big government programs that really push people into poverty and keep people in poverty. And that in turn makes it so that [Democrats] continue to win elections, and therefore they have control.”

She added that it’s important for Republicans to be united going into the 118th: “If we spent as much time fighting the Democrats and the left as we do each other, we’d be in a much different position today.”

We talked about how Congress can start dismantling the huge bureaucracies in the executive agencies, and her position is that it has to be done one step at a time: “I know people want to take it all down in one fell swoop, but the reality is that has never happened, and that won’t ever happen. We have to be smarter and more strategic if we are going to actually be successful instead of just talking about it. We’re looking at ways to be far more effective in getting a conservative small government back, where we actually have more control, that we can start paring it down, and I think we’re going to be very successful in doing that.

“If I could wave a magic wand and close the border and get rid of mandates and get government out of our lives, I would. But I have to be successful in this because our country’s at stake.”

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