After this week’s display in the House, with Republicans passing a defense programs authorization bill that Democrats call an “ode to bigotry and ignorance,” we know who’s running the show. It sure isn’t Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He started the week telling the Freedom Caucus and other frenzied members that they couldn’t endanger the bill’s passage by turning it into a “Christmas tree” with all their nonsense culture war poison pill amendments.
That lasted all of 48 hours before McCarthy capitulated.
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A whole mess of those horrible amendments passed, from stripping abortion care away from servicemembers and their families to banning books in military base school libraries. One thing that didn’t pass? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s effort to block aid to Ukraine. She had a typical hissy fit over it on Twitter.
“Ukraine isn’t the 51st state,” she complained. “This should have never been included in the NDAA which should fund OUR military.” Greene told reporters that her vote on the whole bill was lost. Her “red line” was Ukraine aid.
Except when voting time came around, she quietly voted with Republicans. Greene promised her “yes” vote to McCarthy in return for a position on the conference committee when it comes time for the House and the Senate to meet to combine their bills.
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Asked if that was what it took to get her vote, Greene didn’t deny it. “Right because I have the opportunity to do what I continue to do this week. And I want this opportunity. And I think that’s an important opportunity for me to represent … the people all over America that do not want their tax dollars on an NDAA that funds a foreign war.”
But that’s not how this is supposed to work, and Republicans in the Armed Services and Appropriations committees are probably not very happy about it right now. Because those seats are supposed to go to them. Because they do all of the work and have the expertise on the bill. And because it’s Majorie Taylor Greene—who would want to spend any more time in meetings with her than was absolutely necessary?
So Greene crooked her little finger at McCarthy and he gave her the world. Or at least a chance to interfere on Russia’s behalf in the war in Ukraine. Her presence on that committee is going to jeopardize the bill even further. It’s bad enough that it’s larded up with poison pills the Senate won’t accept. Now there’s a direct threat to the future of funding for Ukraine in the mix.
Yet that’s how weak McCarthy is: He has to bargain away very serious shit to the likes of Greene to keep his job as speaker. It also demonstrates how craven and unserious he is as a lawmaker. He’s weak, he’s thick-headed, and he’s too arrogant to realize or admit that he’s being played like a violin by the worst people Congress has ever seen.
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