100 Days of Drama: The House GOP Is Already Falling Apart
April 13, 2023
House Republicans’ first 100 days in the majority have been dominated by Kevin McCarthy’s weak grip on his caucus and Republicans’ flailing, politically motivated attacks and infighting. After barely surviving his bruising and chaotic House GOP leadership fight in January by giving away the store to MAGA Republicans, McCarthy has continued to embarrass himself even further and is now trying to place blame for his clown show on anyone but himself.
After saying that Republicans’ “very first responsibility” should be to pass a budget, Kevin McCarthy still hasn’t released Republicans’ budget proposal.
Washington Post: “Biden administration warns of ‘damaging’ effects from GOP budget plans”
POLITICO: “Senior Republicans always knew that passing a budget with a slim majority was going to be difficult. But the interesting part of all this palace intrigue is that it’s not factions inside the rank and file causing the problems; it’s McCarthy’s own leadership team that’s in disarray, which doesn’t bode well for House Republicans’ budget efforts — or their bid to extract concessions from Biden on the debt ceiling.”
New York Times: “Mr. McCarthy has turned to allies who helped him win the speakership for his most sensitive assignments and advice. … It remains to be seen whether they can help bail Mr. McCarthy out of an increasingly dire negotiation.”
While Kevin McCarthy refuses to propose a budget, extreme MAGA Republicans have wasted no time calling for devastating cuts to funding for law enforcement, health care, and more.
Washington Post: “If funds at the Department of Health and Human Services are cut, for example, it would have less money for its 988 suicide crisis hotline, potentially diminishing its ability to respond, the agency told lawmakers recently. At the Justice Department, officials warned about ‘significant furloughs’ at the FBI and other key law enforcement agencies, including those that focus on intercepting fentanyl, a GOP priority. Cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration, that agency said, might mean it struggles to retain air traffic controllers, potentially snarling travel.”
MSNBC: “Jim Jordan raises prospect of defunding federal law enforcement”
New York Times: “The largest remaining category involves health care spending that benefits lower- and middle-income families, including from Medicaid and Obamacare. Hard-right Republicans, like some in the Freedom Caucus, have signaled they will propose reductions to these programs. Party leaders, for their part, have said they would eye cuts to anti-poverty programs such as food stamps.”
POLITICO: “Senior Republicans in the House and Senate are proposing deep cuts to Medicaid as talks around reducing the deficit intensify ahead of a budget showdown between President Joe Biden and House leaders.”
MAGA Republicans’ political stunts are facing scrutiny from their own party as Jim Jordan and James Comer’s own colleagues and staff are sounding the alarm about their weak, politically motivated attacks.
CNN: “The party’s more vulnerable members are frustrated with how the House Republican majority has so far spent its time in power, which has also included a heavy focus on investigations … ‘I’m concerned about the kind of legislation that we’re working on, and what we’re talking about,’ Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who represents a swing district, told CNN.”
Punchbowl: “‘There’s a big difference between oversight where you have expertise and oversight to churn out press releases,’ a House GOP aide said of Comer. ‘Everyone thought he’d learn from prior chairmen and work in a more coordinated way. It’s been quite the opposite.’”
Washington Post: “Jordan’s weaponization-panel game plan draws critique from some on the right”
Axios: “Critics say Jordan has been hampered by his off-the-cuff style, lack of structure and separation between Judiciary and its ‘weaponization’ subcommittee — and a tendency to make statements first and hope his investigative work will back them up.”
Republicans’ budget disputes and blowback over investigations have only been intensified by the party’s petty infighting. Kevin McCarthy is now trashing his own leadership team and facing questions about the survival of his speakership.
New York Times: “Mr. McCarthy has told colleagues and allies that he cannot rely on Mr. Scalise, describing the majority leader as ineffective, checked out and reluctant to take a position on anything, according to three Republican lawmakers with direct knowledge of his private comments who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss them.”
New York Times: “Mr. McCarthy has told colleagues he has no confidence in Mr. Arrington, the man responsible for delivering a budget framework laying out the spending cuts that Republicans have said they will demand in exchange for any move to increase the debt limit. Aside from the perceived disloyalty, Mr. McCarthy regards Mr. Arrington, a former official in the George W. Bush administration, as incompetent, according to more than half a dozen people familiar with his thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.”
Axios: “Some angry GOP lawmakers warn that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s position could be on rocky ground after a report he blamed members of his leadership team for Republicans’ chaos over the budget.”
POLITICO: “‘He made a bunch of promises during the speaker race that were always untenable, but he made them anyway,’ one senior Republican aide told us. ‘At a certain point, a lot of that stuff is going to collide, and he’s getting nervous and looking for others to blame.’”
NBC: “House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to fight tooth and nail to secure the gavel. Now, tensions between him and some of his top deputies are spilling out into the open. The chilly relationships further complicate challenges facing the Republican majority.”
100 days in, House Republicans have failed even their own legislative benchmarks as they fumble on their agenda.
CNN: “With little room for error in their razor-thin majority, Republicans have so far struggled to deliver on key priorities like the border and the budget amid their internal divisions.”
POLITICO: “Steve Scalise released a plan for 11 bills he was going to put on the House floor within the first two weeks of the Republican majority. The problem? It’s almost 100 days into the new Congress and Republicans have only passed six of these bills.”
Bloomberg: “House Republicans emerged from their first 100 days struggling to carry out much of their agenda while facing debt limit and spending showdowns.”