New Congressman Cory Mills' swearing-in on hold until new speaker is chosen
New Florida Congressman Cory Mills and his Volusia County counterpart, Michael Waltz, voted each time in support of Kevin McCarthy's failed House Speaker bid Tuesday.
But the series of six votes − at least for now − leaves the new Republican-controlled House powerless to do anything until the party can settle on a leader. That includes swearing in new members, like Mills, who says his election to Congress is "an honor of a lifetime."
He represents Florida's 7th District, covering the southern half of Volusia County and all of Seminole County. Mills is a New Smyrna Beach resident.
In an interview on Fox & Friends First early Monday, Mills reeled off a long list of concerns he hopes the 118th Congress addresses, including rising energy prices, securing borders, "woke" indoctrination in military academies and schools, halting "out of control spending," and reducing reliance on foes such as China and Russia "who are out to destroy the Western Hemisphere." Mills also called defunding the $80 billion provided to the Internal Revenue Service in the Inflation Reduction Act that was passed last year.
"I think we're going to come together on Jan. 3rd, and do what we're supposed to be doing, which is to govern," Mills said. "At the end of the day, all of the infighting, all of the squabbling, all of the things that happen behind closed doors need to come to an end and we need to think about the American people and what needs to get done."
Waltz, who represents the 6th District including northern Volusia, all of Flagler and other parts north and east, went on Fox News Tuesday morning and expressed frustration that the standoff "is over a lot of procedural gobbledygook."
"Every American that I talk to when I was back home in Florida doesn't understand this stuff. It's a bunch of procedural, Washington, Swamp talk," Waltz said. "What they want us to get to is China, is what's going on with Hunter (Biden), is getting subpoena power to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID that have damaged so many kids."
That business will have to wait at least another day, while the House resumes voting on the speaker on Wednesday.
The drama on the floor involved other Florida actors, with Rep. Matt Gaetz among the most prominent McCarthy detractors.
Another freshman congresswoman, Anna Paulina Luna of St. Petersburg joined Gaetz in voting against McCarthy on the first vote.
Rep. Byron Donalds of Naples flipped his vote from McCarthy to Jordan on the third ballot.
"The one thing that's clear is he doesn't have the votes," Donalds said on CNN. "And so at some point as a conference, we have to figure out who does."
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Some Democrats were giddy. Newly elected 25-year-old Maxwell Alejandro Frost of Orlando posted on Twitter: "Feels like I'm in a worldstar video the way McCarthy is getting beat down right now by his own party."
Likewise, Jared Moskowitz, who represents a coastal portion of Broward County, posted 108 icons of popcorn, indicating he's eager to watch the proceedings.
Later, after Tuesday's three votes failed to produce a speaker, he tweeted: "Dear Republican colleagues: As a Emergency Management Director I know a disaster when I see one. Sooo, maybe phone a friend @fema."
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Waltz, Mills back McCarthy as speaker amid chaotic start for Congress