McCarthy’s Messy Majority
April 10, 2023
House Republicans haven’t even made it 100 days into the new Congress, but new reports detail how their majority is flailing amid internal drama and divisions, and Kevin McCarthy’s weak grip on his caucus continues to unravel.
It’s only been a few months since Kevin McCarthy made history by completely embarrassing himself in the House speaker vote, but already the cracks in House Republicans’ majority are showing.
New York Times: “But the suspicions and divisions exposed during [the speakership vote] remain and are spilling out into the open as Mr. McCarthy faces his most consequential test … The tension has burst into public view, contributing to confusion and mixed messages from Republican leaders about what their plan is and when they might be ready to share it.”
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: “‘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.”
Kevin McCarthy is trashing his own leadership team, and already facing blowback and questions about the survival of his speakership.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Even Republicans are complaining about their party’s petty infighting and focus on weak, politically motivated attacks — and lack of focus on delivering for the American people.
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.”
CNN: “The anxiety over the challenges ahead was palpable in interviews with over two dozen Republican members for this story.”
Axios: “A GOP lawmaker accused McCarthy of using Scalise and Arrington as scapegoats before budget and debt ceiling negotiations have fully imploded.”
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: “GOP unhappy with Jordan’s weaponization committee”
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.”
House Republicans are even failing to meet their own legislative benchmarks as they fumble on their agenda.
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.”
While Kevin McCarthy struggles to lead his caucus and has not released a budget proposal, extreme MAGA Republicans’ plans to make devastating cuts to funding for law enforcement, health care, American manufacturing job growth, and more are already clear.
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.”
POLITICO: “It’s McCarthy’s own leadership team that’s in disarray, which doesn’t bode well for House Republicans’ budget efforts.”
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.”
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.”
American Independent: “House Republicans want to repeal Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Voters do not.”