Last week was a bad week for the Republican party on Capitol Hill. A Republican House member accused Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidney. Over on the Senate side, Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tried to start a physical altercation with a witness at a hearing. You can’t make this stuff up.
The only real piece of business that got done was a bi-partisan vote in the House to fund the government until January 19. New Speaker Mike Johnson and the sane members of the House GOP caucus realized that a government shutdown over the holiday season was political suicide for the already badly damaged House GOP.
The government funding bill passed the House by a 336 to 95 vote. Only two Democrats opposed the bill. However, 93 out of 221 Republicans voted to shut down the government. In the absence of Democratic votes, the government would have been shut down. The House GOP can’t govern without Democratic votes.
Speaker Mike Johnson declared that he won’t pass any more short-term spending bills to prevent a government. Johnson: “I’m done with short-term continuing resolutions.” Instead, Johnson has promised to pass a series of appropriations bill on a party line basis to give the House Republicans more leverage in the budget negotiations
Just as soon as Johnson made that bold pledge, the House radicals laid waste to his new strategy. Approximately 25 extreme House Republicans joined with the Democrats to kill an appropriations bill covering the Justice and Commerce departments. It was a huge setback for Johnson. Meanwhile, the House Republicans have made no progress on any of the other appropriations bills.
The MAGA Speaker responded to this devastating loss by sending the House home early for another undeserved vacation. All House votes were canceled until after the Thanksgiving holiday. Once again, the House Republicans left Washington while the House of Representatives is paralyzed and our government is at a standstill.
The far right extremists have blocked appropriations bills to retaliate against Johnson for compromising with the Democrats to fund the government. These radicals have threatened to block all legislation and grind the House to another halt. It’s exactly what these same extremists did to retaliate after then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy cut a deal to raise the debt ceiling on a bi-partisan basis in June.
And that’s not all. These same crazies are threatening to oust Johnson — like they did McCarthy. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) contended that Johnson “has two strikes against him — and that the third will lead to his ouster.” In other words, Johnson is out as speaker if he funds the government with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes in January.
“(T)he overwhelming majority of dysfunction in Congress — the extremism, the childish immaturity, the detachment from reality, the lack of interest in basic governance much less active problem-solving — comes from Republicans in Congress. An influential chunk of the political world — rich individuals and business executives — has been willing to look past this fact because they crave tax cuts and reduced regulations. But they’ll regret it if/when they suddenly discover that part of the tax cut package is decay of the rule of law and competent governance that allows democratic capitalism to thrive.” John Harwood.
The House Republicans are so frustrated with their incompetence and dysfunction that they’re turning on each other. “‘It’s the same clown car with a different driver. We essentially don’t have the majority,’” said Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).
Chip Roy said it best: “One thing. I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing. One. That I can go campaign on and say we did. Anybody sitting in the complex, if you want to come down to the floor and come explain to me, one meaningful, significant thing the Republican majority has done.” You can be sure that Roy’s challenge will be the stuff of numerous television ads run by Democrats in the 2024 election cycle.
“Kevin McCarthy’s entire rise and fall from Speaker of the House was invisible to average Americans. They don’t read news; they don’t watch TV news programs like “Meet the Press.” Democrats still don’t understand this basic flaw in their strategy, an informed and engaged electorate, and I have about 6 months left to convince them that if they don’t center a messaging campaign about how crazy the House Republicans are, no one will ever know, even as they shut down the government and gut the government. If we want voters to know that we face an existential crisis from Republican extremism, we have to tell them.” Rachel Bitecofer
The chaos in the House is a threat to U.S. national security. The House Republicans have blocked aide to Israel and Ukraine during an international crisis. The enemy is watching and listening to the U.S. House. They are getting the clear and unfortunate message of weakness and division from the Republicans.
Every House Republican has voted for this chaos and dysfunction — even the so-called “moderates.” The likes of Don Bacon (R-NE) voted for the people who created this mess. The only way to end this MAGA madness is to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.
The stakes couldn’t be much higher in 2024. Trump is making it clear that he is not running for president — he is running for dictator. Trump has promised to prosecute anybody who opposes him and to deploy the military to arrest people who protest against him. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Like many aspiring dictators, Trump makes no secret of his authoritarian agenda.
The 2024 election will be an important turning point in our country’s history. If we defeat Trump and the MAGA Republicans, American democracy will most likely survive. If we lose, it’s game over. There will never be another free election in the history of this proud country. I would strongly urge a vote for Joe Biden because he’s not planning a military dictatorship.
It’s up to us to save democracy. Nobody will do it for us. Now let’s get it done!