In case you’ve missed it, I’m talking about the inability of the House Republicans to elect the Speaker of the House, because 20 “holdout” Republicans will not vote for the most likely candidate, Kevin McCarthy. Thus after now 11 votes, McCarthy has not gained a majority.
It is unprecedented event, at least in the last 164 years. Much of the negotiations are in secret, but some demands have leaked out. Imagine if a group of kidnappers took a child, and each sent a separate ransom note, and not one note assured the release of the child. It is that crazy.
The Republican lead House will not pass legislation. Most scary of all, the US reaches the debt ceiling in mid-summer and it needs to be raised. Unfortunately, it is wrongly portrayed as permission to spend recklessly. Approval has come after a lot of grandstanding by Republicans of how totally out of control our government spending is and they will put a stop to it.
It is in fact, it is government asking permission to borrow enough money above a certain limit to pay for expenses that have already been authorized. Failure to approve the debt ceiling increase will mean the US is now in default on its payments, and trust in the US dollar will plummet. Higher interest rates will affect everyone. Trying to repair the damage afterwards is very difficult.
Rep. Ralph Norman, a South Carolina Republican, said the debt ceiling fight is a “non-negotiable item” which is really scary talk. It guarantees that Norman will have his day in the sun, as he can blast the Democrats for our cumulative debt. The Trump administration also increased the national debt, with large tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, in 2017, which continues to effect borrowing today.
The Republicans will hold hearings. Under brutal attack will be the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas for the crisis at the southern border. Republicans may start impeachment hearings against Mayorkas.
Our support for Ukraine will come under constant attack from the radical right Republicans who will attack almost everything the Biden administration is doing right.
Many of the 20 holdouts belong to the Freedom Caucus, and one of the demands of this group, is that the members of important committees must be members of the Caucus. Thus, it is the Caucus with unelected officials and not the Republican Party, which is really driving policy.
Finally, the holdouts want to make it very easy to get rid of the Speaker, thus vastly reducing his authority. Imagine McCarthy has negotiated a deal on increasing the debt ceiling, but the hard right representatives don’t like it. They don’t need to debate it, they just send McCarthy packing. And then go through more rounds of voting on a new Speaker.
There has been some great reporting. From the New York Times, “It’s not about policies, it’s about the fight,” said Doug Heye, a former aide to Representative Eric Cantor, the onetime majority leader who lost his seat in a stunning 2014 upset by a far-right challenger, David Brat. “The more you hear the word ‘fight’ or ‘fighter,’ the less you hear about a strategy for winning that fight.”
Matt Gaetz has said repeatedly there are at least 5 representatives who absolutely will not vote for Kevin McCarthy, and this is enough to block him from serving as Speaker. One of them is Representative Lauren Boebert, who decided to be interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News. He asked, “Is this a game show?” which is interesting as I consider most of Hannity and Carlson Tucker just entertainment for conservative Republicans.
It is Trump MAGA stuff: Winning is for the strong, Compromise is for the weak. Unfortunately, as Trump has shown, it isn’t winning for the country, and for personal political gain.
Buckle up, we are in uncharted waters.