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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

House GOP Woes

Axios: Never before has the party in control of the House of Representatives knowingly and willingly castrated its own power so thoroughly as today's Republicans, Axios' Juliegrace Brufke and Justin Green report.
Why it matters: Republicans blew years of potential authority by weak leaders surrendering to keep power. So with a razor-thin GOP majority, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) had to depend on Democrats to muscle through the $60 billion Ukraine bill over the weekend.

Two mistakes haunt House Republicans, both dating back to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy's fight to win the gavel in January 2023:
  • Letting any member call a vote on removing the speaker. This gives insurgents like Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) extraordinary power to threaten to oust the party leader any time.
  • Surrendering authority of the Rules Committee, which sets the terms for how legislation will be handled during votes. After allowing non-loyalists onto the committee, leaders can't depend on getting their way.
Zoom in: The new Rules Committee — with McCarthy-appointed hardliners, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) — has become a roadblock. Seven bills were defeated in the past year during the rules process.This is an unprecedented collapse in control: Former Speakers Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan and John Boehner never lost a rules vote.

Brendan Buck, a top staffer to Ryan and Boehner, wrote in a New York Times op-ed: "A party unable to bring its agenda to the floor for a vote is no longer a functional majority."Former Speaker Ryan told Axios that Johnson "found his footing, and his voice. ... [H]e did it as a statesman, risking his own personal political fortune for the greater good that he believes in."