By Reginald Stuart
Greater Nashville’s new Fifth Congressional District started 2023 with a bumpy landing as the arrival in Congress of Middle Tennessee’s new U.S. Representative was anything but smooth.
Victory celebrations had to be rearranged and welcomes postponed, in some cases. The hiring and placement of staff was continuing well into this month, with key staffers still to be appointed.
The rough start of Congress came after 15 votes into last weekend among members in the House of Representatives for the Speaker of the House, causing a week’s delay of political infighting before a narrow majority vote of victory for Republicans in electing a California Republican as House Speaker.
It was days more before Middle Tennessee’s Andy Ogles, former Mayor of Maury County,
could officially hang his name plate on his small office chamber on Capitol Hill in the Cannon House Office Building.
With a new official legislative head shot picture on his new government web site, Rep. Ogles
was dressed dapperly, clean cut and shaven, and was already issuing statements on one item of concern after the other. There was no sight of the week’s mid-night sessions among House members as they argued and tussled over selecting a House Speaker.
Later this week, he will be officially assigned legislative committee responsibilities and begin taking over detailed legislative tasks in a job held by a Democrat since the middle of the 1800’s.
No sooner had the full House been officially seated and sworn in, the new majority quickly
began placing its imprint on the new presence of conservatives not even former President Reagan would acknowledge during his tenure.
Finally, this week, Rep. William Andrew Ogles IV, known locally in Middle Tennessee as Rep. Andy Ogles, got his first chance to join fellow Republicans in the House chamber for an official vote: Rep. Ogles joined the Republican majority in the House to approve legislation defunding the Internal Revenue Service by cutting 87,000 jobs from a budget approved last month by the outgoing Congress. The defunding plan is expected to be blocked by the new Democratic majority Senate.
Rep. Ogles also implied in a new newsletter to constituents on his official website, the House was working to create a “select committee” on “weaponization of the federal government “and a resolution on creating a “select committee on strategic competition between the United State and China.” The legislation was not clear on its relationship to the ongoing health pandemic, gas prices at the pumps or food store prices.
The proposals, supported by Rep. Ogles, echoed his campaign themes of “restoring
transparency” to government and seemed drawn from a Republican political play book of
campaign rhetoric. Rep. Ogles office noted early this week, no press person had been appointed yet to handle inquiries and answer constituent questions.
Political observers of Republican actions on Capitol declined to comment on the developments, given the state of confusion in the nation’s political merry go round.