15 November 2023
After House Democrats narrowly avoided a shutdown, GOP congressmen are at odds.
The first time is farce, the second time… farce. This appears to be the main takeaway from the great GOP House leadership revolt of 2023.
In early October, patient followers of maggified Kremlinology will recall that at the Republican House convention, Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered a historic motion-blank vote to acquit Speaker Kevin McCarthy of the serious crime of brokering an agreement with House Democrats on a clean continuing resolution. Was sent. Keep the government functioning and funded. Now, after weeks of fruitless wrangling within the conference to replace McCarthy, his eventual successor, Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, has reached an almost identical agreement with House Democrats on a “laddered” continuation resolution that would allow two separate Sets deadlines – one in the middle. In the beginning of January and February, money for government works will start running out. The stopgap bill, like the preceding McCarthy deal, was essentially a Democratic rescue action; 209 Democratic members voted to approve it, with only two voting no; The corresponding totals in the GOP majority were 127 and 93. In fact, Johnson’s bill received three more Republican votes than McCarthy’s.
The House action, which Johnson achieved through suspension of a rule to move directly to the floor vote, again drew the ire of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, which sought to contest McCarthy’s speakership and his marathon 14-ballot. Played a central role in both elections. Desecration from the same post nine months later. But this latest spasm of outrage was tempered with the recognition that Johnson, a dogged evangelical culture warrior and proven election denier, has a comrade in arms — an affinity that caucus members have shared with the chameleonic and opportunistic McCarthy. never felt. Unlike many past GOP speakers, Johnson has included Freedom Caucus members in his weekly strategy meetings, and at least some of them are behind him. Caucus member Andrew Ogles of Tennessee told Washington Post This time a stopgap solution is appropriate as it will serve as a prelude to the 2024 spending fight. “We have to gear up for January,” he said. “Because this is where the real fight begins.”
Johnson himself took the same tone of anticipatory belligerence at a press conference announcing the successive reconciliation bills, as reporters pressed him to explain why and how his spending deal was different from McCarthy’s. The speaker insisted, “We are not surrendering, we are fighting.” “But you have to be wise in choosing your battles.”
That claim would be decided during the post-recess phase of inter-conference infighting – but in an inappropriate development for Johnson’s message, Congress spent much of the day before the vote in a tussle in which neither had knowledge. Nor was the decision demonstrated. To start things off, Representative Tim Burchett, a Tennessee ally of Ogles who voted to oust McCarthy last month, was elbowed in the kidneys by the former speaker in a Capitol corridor encounter. Burchett followed McCarthy and his security men and demanded to know what was happening; When the former speaker refused to deliver a body blow, Burchett told NPR reporter Claudia Grissells, “He’s just a jerk.” Burchett elaborated further on that topic in a later interview with CNN reporter Manu Raju: “He’s a crook with $17 million and a security detail. He’s the kind of guy who, when you’re a kid, throws rocks over the fence and then runs home and hides behind his mom’s skirt.
On Tuesday, the same rare aura of reasoned controversy was associated with the functioning of the House in almost every corner. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene chose to respond to her California colleague Darrell Issa, who did not support her half-hearted proposal to impeach Department of Homeland Security head Alejandro Mayorkas, in a Twitter meme calling him “a Cat” – which is less than a close, well-reasoned rebuttal of Issa’s claim that Green lacked the “maturity and experience” to create such a motion stick.
Meanwhile, Issa and Greene’s nominal supervisor on the House Oversight Committee, James Comer of Kentucky, was himself a prominent middle-schooler. Democratic committee member Jared Moskowitz vaguely explained that Comer was in the process of investigating a major presidential overreach – Joe Biden’s $200,000 loan to his brother – the kind of business Comer himself had handled for one of his own associates. Had operated together. Suppressed the brothers and sisters. “This is nonsense!” Comer announcedAnd for good measure hit back at Moskowitz with the taunt, “You look like a fool here.”
If the weary citizens of the Republic thought that the Senate, which likes to promote itself as the world’s greatest deliberative body, could demonstrate a more measured approach to civilian inquiry, I regret to say that That Lord Gargamel had other things on his mind. GOP Senator Markway Mullin of Oklahoma, who sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, saw fit to confront Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, who was testifying before the panel, over derisive comments on social media. Also criticized the union president. at the lawmaker in June, which included characterizations such as “clown” and “fraud.” Mullin then invited O’Brien to a fist fight: “You want to run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults, we can end this right here. The Teamsters official replied, “Okay, that’s perfect,” prompting Mullin to issue this Daniel Webster-esque retort: ”Then get your butt up.” He was in the process of standing his own butt up when committee Chairman Bernie Sanders kicked off the entire biker-bar set piece by reminding Mullin, “You’re a United States senator.”
Indeed, and regrettably. These are the congressional heirs of the Party of Lincoln, who will take over Mike Johnson’s mandate early next year to fulfill the House’s primary responsibility as holder of the nation’s purse strings, and to fight in a more productive and targeted fashion. Will be ready. It is no wonder that the new Speaker of the House is such a passionate person of prayer.