The following is a transcript of an interview with Rep. Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina, that aired on “Face the Nation” on Oct. 8, 2023.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Last week, eight House Republicans joined by a unified Democratic caucus voted to reject Congressman Kevin McCarthy from the position of Speaker of the House. A historic first. One of those Republicans, Representative Nancy Mace, joins us this morning from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Good to have you back with us. Let’s go straight to the news. You had said to the Wall Street Journal, the reason you voted down McCarthy was because promises you were made were not kept. You’ve been working very hard on very specific issues for a very long time. “When you shake a hand, make a promise, you ought to keep it.” What specific promise did he fail to follow through on?
REP. NANCY MACE: Well, first of all, he made a promise to our country that he would follow the law and present a budget and 12 spending bills. There’s a law from 1974, the Budget Impact and Control Act, that says we were supposed to do that. But Congress always manufactures that emergency every year, like they don’t know that September 30 exists. And they skirt the law with CRs. Number one, I want a speaker who will keep their word and who will get the job done. Secondarily, I was very public about working on many different issues, whether it was trying to get a balanced budget amendment on the floor, working through the Ethics Committee to come up with a process when we are trying to get people off of committee that they are allowed due process that is vetted via the Ethics Committee. I’ve been working on women’s issues. I’ve been working on gun violence issues in our communities, and I had his pledge of support on many of those things, but this is bigger than just me and him. This is about the future of our country and mortgaging our kids’ future and I’m unwilling to do that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Well, on the- the Balanced Budget Amendment was introduced by you September 18, very recently. Your rape kit backlog bill, an important, one moved through Judiciary Committee fairly swiftly at the end of September. And they already were in process of voting through those appropriations bills, as you know. And in fact, vote- voting could happen now, except there’s no Speaker so we’re stuck. What was it that flipped the switch?
REP. MACE: Well, again, for me, it’s someone that will keep their promises, that will keep their word and not keeping- not kicking the can down the road. And it was a matter of trust, not just for me, but there were other members in our conference, there were members on both sides of the aisle. And it’s very important that when we make a promise to the American people, we really ought to keep it and I’ve been back home in South Carolina the last couple of days since we recess and adjourned. And I heard from a lot of people, and it was a lot of thank you for your vote on Tuesday. Thank you for your position on abortion. We support you, we’ve got to stand up for the people of our country, I’m going to stand up against the folks in Washington that want to do the same thing we’ve always done. But again, when we make promises to our country, we ought to keep them and I’m excited about the prospects of the Speakers next week.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s what I want to ask you about. So what fulfillment of those promises is required for you? I mean, is that what you’re asking of Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise, the two candidates?
REP. MACE: I’ve spoken with both of those gentlemen. I think they’ll- they would both be great leaders. And my bar for the next speaker is to- is to commit to the promises that the former Speaker made to our country, and to get the job done and to be productive. We have a lot of work that we have to do. We have a very short window of time to do it. Put us to work and let’s fulfill the promises that we kept, that we made to the American people. That’s it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How quickly can this get done? Is there any unity?
REP. MACE: I think it can get done very quickly. I think there can be in the next couple of days. I believe we need to be swift with it. I have spoken to both of them. They are committed to bringing our party together and unifying and not continuing the division that we have and that’s what we need to do. I think it’s a great opportunity, could be cathartic for the party and could be very positive next week.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I have to take a break and continue this conversation on the other side of it with you. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to Face The Nation. Let’s continue our conversation now with South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace. We were talking about the two candidates for Speaker who have put themselves forward. You voted to certify the 2020 election, Steve Scalise did not. By CBS standards that makes him an election denier, is that disqualifying for you?
REP. MACE: Well, there- with both of the candidates, they’re going to be issues that we agree on and disagree–
MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s a pretty big one.
REP. MACE: That’s the way it would be with any speaker. It will- yeah, with any speaker. But I will tell you today, I am going to be supporting Jim Jordan, for Speaker for a number of reasons. I think that his values, his work ethic, his ability to just run circles around everyone with regards to policy and pushing forward. We’ve been one of the least productive Congresses inside of 30 years, and he’s going to be a workhorse for our country. And I’m really looking forward to rolling up our sleeves this week, no matter how this shakes out and working hard for the American people, because we’ve got to stand up for the people. We’ve got to put the American people first and move this country forward and do it in a positive way. And I think he’s going to bring that to the table.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, let me ask you about Jim Jordan, because former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who as you know, was one of the lead investigators on the January 6 committee, warned Republicans against making him speaker of the house. Listen:
LIZ CHENEY: Jim Jordan knew more about what Donald Trump had planned for January 6, than any other member of the House of Representatives. And if the Republicans decide that Jim Jordan should be the Speaker of the House, there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That is a chilling statement, does it give you any pause?
REP. MACE: Well, again, there’s going to be all sorts of issues that we agree on and disagree on. And also in terms of January 6, the Electoral College, etc. I was one of the most vocal members of our party, that day, and the days and weeks beyond that. I got primaried because of my vote to certify, because I spoke out. And so you know, we have to look forward and unite and come together regardless of what has happened in the past. We have to be forward thinking and look to the future to bring the party together, bring the people together and let the American people know that we care and we’re going to work and fight hard for them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you’ve been outspoken about defending victims of sexual assault. Do the past allegations against Jim Jordan that he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse give you any reservations? How do you square that?
REP. MACE: Yeah, I’m not familiar or aware with that. He’s not indicted on anything that I’m aware of. And so I don’t I don’t know anything and I can’t speak to that. But, I will say that I have been, as you said Margaret–
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s the Ohio State University allegations.
REP. MACE: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know anything about that. What I do know is that I’ve been a very strong voice for women. I’ve talked to Jim Jordan, and Steve Scalise about that. I’ve been a very strong advocate for rape victims. As you mentioned earlier, the Judiciary Committee as- with him as chairman, recently passed a rape kit bill that Barbara Lee and I are working on. And those are the facts and the data that I have to work with. And I’ve had a very positive experience with him in that regard.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You mentioned among the things you wanted promises on from McCarthy, the Ethics Committee was something you said was also a priority for you. Matt Gaetz, on this program, you’ve called him a fraud. McCarthy said his ouster is personal payback from Gaetz for the House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct on- that Gaetz is accused of carrying out. Does that bother you?
REP. MACE: Well, I don’t again, he’s not indicted for anything. I don’t really, I don’t know much about it–
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s the Ethics Committee.
REP. MACE: I have my- I have had my ups- and I’m not on the ethics committee and I don’t- I don’t know what they have. I haven’t seen it. But I’ve had my ups and downs with a lot of members in Congress, because as an independent voice, I will call the balls and strikes regardless of the consequences, regardless of the backlash. I think that it’s very apparent after the last five days or so. But again, nothing’s come out of the ethics committee. I also heard in the last couple of days in terms of the retribution against Matt Gatez, they’re going to pull something out of the Ethics Committee to get him back. I’m being threatened to be thrown off of my committees. I’m being threatened to be thrown out of the conference. They’re threatening to my gavel away on oversight.
MARGARET BRENNAN: By who?
REP. MACE: There’s just a lot of- by fellow members. I mean, there was a letter signed on Friday. And so I want to use this as an opportunity to say I’m willing to work with anyone who’s willing to work with me. We want to move our country forward and unite during the Speaker debate and the vote this week.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Nancy Mace, thank you for your time today. We’ll be right back.
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