CNN "Anderson Cooper 360" - TRANSCRIPT House Reconvenes With Still No Speaker Elected; Interview With Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX); Now: House Votes To Adjourn Until Noon Tomorrow; House Adjourns Without Electing A Speaker. Aired 8-9p ET


Date: Jan. 4, 2023

Joining us now, not one of those 20, Texas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions, who has voted now six times for Kevin McCarthy.

Congressman Sessions, thanks for joining us.

What's the latest you're hearing about what's going to happen?

REP. PETE SESSIONS (R-TX): Well, we're hearing this as you did, Jake, and that is that this negotiation that it took place with Mr. McCarthy was really a wide ranging viewpoint not just on his duties as Speaker here, but also his campaign activities as he would engage himself and the money that he collected across the country.


Also to the Rules Committee, as you'll recall, I spent 20 years on the Rules Committee, six years as its Chairman the last time we were in the majority and to substantively change those procedures that the Rules Committee would have, wide ranging viewpoints up into point of orders, votes that would be on the floor, things that would be available to any member, meaning the minority.

So it really seems like to me that the discussion is for the House to look more like the Senate. And as you know, they have a puncture --

TAPPER: Congressman, I'm sorry to interrupt, one second, we need to hear -- listen to the clerk for one second. I'm so sorry. I'll bring you back in a second.

JOHNSON: The yeas and nays are requested. A sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. Members will record their votes by electronic device.

TAPPER: ... vote on whether or not -- I believe this is a vote on whether or not to adjourn and reconvene until noon tomorrow. Congressman Sessions, let me let me bring you back. Is that your understanding of what the vote is, right? On a motion to adjourn?

SESSIONS: Yes, it is a motion to adjourn right now.

TAPPER: Yes. And Congressman Tom Emmer is recommending that House Republicans vote to adjourn until noon tomorrow. That's what the House Republican leadership is recommending. I'm sorry for interrupting. Go ahead, sir.

SESSIONS: That's okay, and I would be for that also, as we need that time. What I would say to you is that, the appearances of what we're talking about, of the Rules Committee, that the Chairman of the Rules Committee traditionally is literally the most powerful Chairman in Washington, DC, because they have the ability to self-execute bills, and that is to take bills that I'm sorry, amendments -- they have the ability to take things that may have been handled in Committee and completely changed them when I was Chairman on the Rules Committee that myself executed, which I did. I had an obligation and I told people, I would tell them, because it is hard to go through a hundred-page bill or a thousand-page bill, if someone doesn't tell you what has changed, because it's been vetted at the previous Committee.

But with that, also the Chairman of the Rules Committee can protect that and not allow it to a point of order, which many times is important, not just to change the law, but against procedures that necessarily people want to attack it on.

So it means that the majority cannot always have their way and each of these would be subject to a vote on the floor. Well, this is pretty much the way most Statehouses handle their business to where it is more bipartisan.

TAPPER: Right.

SESSIONS: So it would definitely be designed to have a less powerful not just Speaker, but a less powerful majority. So, it would mean the majority would be like a King with no clothes.

TAPPER: So right now, what's going on? Just for anyone just tuning in is earlier today, the House Republicans in the House of Representatives had a motion to adjourn until eight o'clock Eastern. Tonight, they have reconvened, and right now, they are voting on a motion to adjourn until noon tomorrow, noon Thursday, and House Republicans which are the majority, the leadership is recommending that Republicans vote to do that.

And you can see so far 122 Republicans have voted yay to adjourn until noon tomorrow, and Democrats are generally voting nay on that.

And Congressman Sessions, one of the things that's going on here is there has been talk about is there possibly going to be some other House Republican whose name gets thrown into the mix, who might be able to get to 218 and I'm wondering if you've heard anything.

I just heard from a House Republican who told me that there is scuttlebutt about somebody who has previously voted for Kevin McCarthy six times putting forward the name of Steve Scalise, Congressman Steve Scalise, and I'm wondering if you have heard that as if -- that that was a possibility for this evening.

SESSIONS: Well, I think the negotiation with Mr. McCarthy, if it's not successful, they'll be looking for the next able person who will agree with what Mr. McCarthy would not agree with, so you know once again, if Mr. McCarthy does not make it, his political operations become inconsequential.


What then becomes the same subject would be on Mr. Scalise.

So, once again, this is a very interesting process to go to, through that makes our majority less able and adaptive to be able to not only get our work done, but to, I guess, be powerful because it means every day whoever is the Speaker has to recheck with everybody on their vote.

That's what's done in the Senate, in an organization where you may have 50 on one side and 50 of another. A large organization makes it way cumbersome and way different.

So we'll see.

TAPPER: Four hundred thirty-five is definitely more difficult than a hundred.

SESSIONS: Yes, sir.

TAPPER: But one of the questions that this House Republican with whom I'm communicating is suggesting is that if Steve Scalise who is the number two House Republican, if his name was about to be nominated on the floor, is -- this is a question I'm asking you now -- is Republican Leader McCarthy's desire to not go forward with any more action tonight and to adjourn until noon tomorrow, is that at least partly to squash any efforts to put Steve Scalise's name on the floor of the House for a vote?

SESSIONS: Well, I don't think there's any question in my mind that Mr. McCarthy wants to be in a position of strength, and until the bitter end, until he had replied back and knew the answer of what was being asked for him and he would not want to move aside.

So at the point, he realizes that he may have ended his negotiation, it would become apparent to me that he would then move to Mr. Scalise. They are very close and very much the -- I guess, you could say the same in their philosophies.

TAPPER: When Kevin McCarthy says that progress has been made in negotiations, and I certainly find that credible when it comes to some of the rebels including Chip Roy of Texas, your fellow Texan, or even Congressman Bishop, do you -- is your understanding that the progress has been sufficient to get him to 218? Or is it just peeling off a couple of the 20?

Because as you know, there are at least four, maybe even five people that say they will never vote for Kevin McCarthy and I find it difficult to imagine any progress being made with them?

SESSIONS: Well, I would suppose that those five or six or seven will not ever vote for Mr. McCarthy and the other is based upon pure and simple negotiating skills and tactics and agreements.

So I would think that there -- it is still does not answer the full question, and they'd have to come back tomorrow and figure out what that is.

TAPPER: All right, Congressman Pete Sessions, Republican of the Great State of Texas, thank you so much for joining us.

SESSIONS: You bet, Jake. Thanks.