The following is a transcript of an interview with Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina that aired Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: We begin with one of the Republican members of Congress who was with Speaker McCarthy on all votes. That’s Nancy Mace of South Carolina. Good morning to you, Congresswoman. Welcome back.
REP. NANCY MACE: Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Again and again, 14 times the hard right faction of your party refused to vote for Kevin McCarthy even after he was making repeated concessions to them. How can Republicans possibly govern when your party is so unruly?
REP. MACE: Well, first of all, I want to say number one, Kevin McCarthy, is the only member that- that I know of, that could bring all the different groups together within our own party, because we do have different factions, just like Democrats do. And that’s, that’s the first thing. And then the second thing is that sometimes democracy is messy. It looked kind of like an unnecessary and prolonged food fight last week. And I agreed with many Americans who thought that. I came home this weekend and listened to folks of all sides. I represent a very purple district, I have all sides to serve. And there was a lot of frustration with the prolonged and unnecessary food fight that we had this week. But you saw democracy on full display. And I think that’s healthy to have that kind of debate. I’m glad that it’s over and we can move forward.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I mean, some would say it wasn’t so much democracy as it was dysfunction. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page was pretty scathing. Said: don’t believe the happy talk this was a healthy display of deliberative democracy. It was a power play. A group of backbenchers saw an opportunity to exploit the narrower GOP margin of five seats to put themselves in positions of power that they hadn’t earned through seniority or influence with colleagues. If this rules package passes, with all the concessions that Speaker McCarthy made, this will leave you beholden, won’t it? To those backbenchers?
REP. MACE: Well, a couple of things I want, I want to say on the rules package, the rules that are governed the way- that will govern the way the House operates. There are some very great good ideas in there like the 72 hour rule, having three days to read a bill before it comes to the floor for a vote, having a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years, ensuring that they’re spending off- offsets, especially with mandatory spending. If you’re gonna increase in one area, then you have to decrease in another. But I will tell you, when I ran for Congress two years ago, I won by one point, and I ran to be a new Nancy in the house. And what I saw last week was a small faction of the 20, who were acting just like the old Nancy, trying to cut back room deals in private, in secret without anyone knowing what else was going on. And when they did the rules package. At the end of the day, there was only one point that was changed. That was on the motion to vacate. That was the only difference in the package that we’re going to be voting on tomorrow that was different from the original package that was proposed. So my question really is today is what back room deals were cut- did they try to cut? And did they get those because we shouldn’t be operating like Nancy Pelosi, this small faction. They’re the ones that are saying they were, quote, fighting the swamp, but then yet went and tried to act like you know, like, they actually are the swamp by trying to do these back room deals. And we don’t know what they got, or didn’t get. We haven’t seen it. We don’t have any idea what promises were made or what gentleman’s handshakes were made. We just, we just have no idea at this point. And it does give me quite a bit of heartburn, because that’s not what we ran on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So Speaker–
REP. MACE: It’s quite ironic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you are saying Speaker McCarthy is not being transparent about all the deals that he brokered in order to win this job.
REP. MACE: I’m saying there’s a small handful of individuals in that 20 who were trying to cut deals in secret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Didn’t they succeed in doing that?
REP. MACE: And not let anybody else know about them. We’re not sure, we don’t know at this point. And that does give me pause and gives me significant heartburn on what direction we’re going to take. I represent a purple district, I have to represent Republicans, Democrats and Independents. I want to know that the positions that I have are going to have a voice that it will have weighed in the conference. There are a lot of members like me that- that have issues with some of the policies that we’re going to be working on. Look at what happened after overturning of Roe v. Wade. We didn’t have a plan and I want as a woman and as a victim of rape want to know that we’re going to be serious. That we’re going to be balanced in protecting the rights of women and protecting the rights of the unborn. There’s a way to do it both and not be guided by one extreme or the other.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I just want to clarify there because I had asked you initially about the rules package, which is published and would be voted on tomorrow. Are you saying that you’re going to withhold your vote on those published agreements until you know what these back room deals were?
REP. MACE: I am considering that as an option right now. I like the rules package. It is the most open, fair, and fiscally conservative package we’ve had in 30 years. I support it, but what I don’t support is a small number of people trying to get a deal done or deals done for themselves in private, in secret to get a vote or vote present. I don’t support that. That is just what Nancy Pelosi does. And that’s not what they should be doing. And so I am on the fence right now about the rules package vote tomorrow for that reason.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Got it. It reportedly includes a pledge that would likely require a $75 billion cut to national security funding. Do you support that part of it?
REP. MACE: I want to see- I want to see it in writing. I want to see what promises were made. And what we are being told is that- that these handshakes, what’s going on these promises will go through regular order and go through the regular appropriations process. I don’t want to see defense cuts. I- again, we don’t, we don’t know what deals were made. And that’s something that we should be transparent about. Sunshine is the best medicine. That’s what we’ve always said. So what, what are we guaranteeing or what promises were made? We should know.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The speaker has reportedly given the Freedom Caucus, that ultra-conservative faction, a third of the seats on the powerful Rules Committee which controls which bills make it to the floor. You’ve called Matt Gaetz, one of its members, a political D-Lister and a fraud. You’ve sparred with Marjorie Taylor Greene, I’ll show our viewers part of that and let them interpret your meaning. How are you going to work with these folks to get anything done for the American people?
REP. MACE: It’s going to be very difficult. Matt Gaetz is a fraud. Every time he voted against Kevin McCarthy last week he sent out a fundraising email. What you saw last week was a constitutional process diminished by those kinds of political actions. I don’t support that kind of behavior. I am very concerned as someone who represents a lot of centrists, a lot of Independents. I have as many Independents and Democrats as I have Republicans in my district. I have to represent everybody. I am concerned that common sense legislation will not get through to get a vote on the floor. And I, for example, we have 12 bills that we’re supposedly going to be voting on in our first week in office. Three of them are abortion- abortion bills and pro-life bills. I am pro-life. But I have many exceptions. But they are not legislation, pieces of legislation, that can pass the Senate and get onto the desk for the president to sign into law. And so if we’re going to be serious about protecting life, for example, maybe we should look at more centrist views, like ensuring every woman has access to birth control, because if you can reduce pregnancies, you can reduce the need or want for women to have abortions, for example, a very common sense pragmatic point of view. But that’s not what we’re going to be voting on this week. And I am concerned I want to see pragmatic- pragmatics at work, common sense, fiscal, conservative issues at work that represent all views.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Before I let you go, I have to ask you, you have a new colleague from the state of New York, Representative George Santos. He says he’s embellished his resume. You could say he just flat-out lied about work history, education, family background, how can you work with someone like that? And does he need to be removed from office?
REP. MACE: It’s very difficult to work with anyone who cannot be trusted, and it’s very clear his entire resume in life was- was manufactured until a couple days ago when he finally changed his website. It is a problem. If we say we can’t trust the Left when they are telling the truth, how can we trust our own? Americans want transparency, and the one lesson I’ve learned in DC: if you want a friend you can trust, get a dog.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand you are a dog fan. All right, Congresswoman. Thank you.
REP. MACE: I am a huge dog fan. Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you. Nancy Mace. Thank you for your time this morning.
Thanks for reading CBS NEWS.
Create your free account or log in
for more features.