Posts tagged with "House Republicans"

House GOP scrambles to find Speaker nominee after Scalise drops out. Is Tom Emmer the answer?

October 16, 2023

House Republicans were tussling again on Friday, October 14, to find a nominee for House Speaker; after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) dropped out of the race on Thursday night, October 12, as he struggled to round up the necessary 217 votes to get elected by the full chamber, reports The Washington Post.

Without a speaker, the House is unable to consider any legislation to aid Israel in its war against Hamas or pass any appropriations bills to avoid a potential government shutdown in mid-November.

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)—who finished second to Scalise in internal GOP balloting last week—was still in the hunt on Friday, and other candidates were considering a run. The House convened at 9 a.m. (EDT) for a short session before recessing behind closed doors so that House Republicans could meet privately.

Some staunch conservatives considered Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) to be a potential Speaker candidate who could unite Republicans, because he has relationships across the conference’s ideological spectrum.

Since he has served in leadership only this year, far-right members do not view Emmer as an establishment figure like Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Steve Scalise. They also appreciate his bluntness, rather than what several members have described as McCarthy’s tendency to say what members want to hear. But others view Emmer, who has been in the House since 2015, as too inexperienced to be Speaker.

Moderates in the conference—including those who represent swing districts that Joe Biden won in 2020—like Emmer because he helped them get elected over the past two terms in which he served as the National Republican Campaign Committee chairman. Holding that post has also proved to members that he can raise money—a key void that needs to be filled after the ouster of McCarthy, who is widely considered a master fundraiser.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

McCarthy, GOP pump brakes on release of January 6 footage to Tucker Carlson

March 2, 2023

House Republicans are pumping the brakes on the release of January 6 surveillance footage they’ve offered to Fox News host Tucker Carlson and going on offense against Democrats who have spent the past week slamming the move, reports The Hill.

Republican leaders are emphasizing that no clips will be broadcast without prior security clearance while accusing Democrats of neglecting the same precautions during the investigation by the House select committee last year—a charge the Democrats quickly rejected.

Carlson, Fox’s wildly popular conservative pundit, said last week that he would begin airing footage from the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot this week, after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) offered him what Carlson described as “unfettered” exclusive access to more than 40,000 hours of unreleased surveillance tape starting earlier in the month.

Yet McCarthy and other Republicans, following days of silence on the topic, made clear Tuesday that no information would be released to Carlson’s team—let alone broadcast publicly—before the footage is screened to ensure it doesn’t compromise the security of the Capitol complex.

The Speaker said Republicans are working with the U.S. Capitol Police to ensure that’s the case.

“It’s many more hours of tape than we were ever told. They said at the beginning it was like, 14,000 hours. There’s roughly almost 42,000 hours. We’re working through that. We work with the Capitol Police as well, so we’ll make sure security is taken care of,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol.

“There’s certain parts that he wanted to see,” McCarthy said of Carlson, but stressed that the Fox News host’s team specifically said they do not want to see “exit routes.”

“They’re not interested in it. They don’t want to show that,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s statement was a shot at the January. 6 select committee for airing footage showing then-Vice President Mike Pence leaving the Senate chamber after rioters stormed into the Capitol in a failed effort to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s election victory.

The footage did not show Pence’s full route out of the Capitol, and members of the investigative committee said they took pains to clear each video clip with leaders of the Capitol Police before broadcasting them.

“What we showed to the public was video that we vetted through general counsel, we vetted through the chief of the Capitol Police,” Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), chairman of the since-dissolved January 6 committee, told reporters on Tuesday. “And under no circumstances did we push out anything that we felt that would have violated any aspect of the security of this area.”

 However, McCarthy cast doubt on the Democrats’ narrative—saying members of the Capitol Police force have informed him directly that not all footage from the January 6 select committee was screened.

“There’s times when the Capitol Police told me that they didn’t consult with them either on some of these routes, so that’s a concern,” McCarthy said.

The Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McCarthy said that he expects the security footage to be widely released “as soon as possible,” but would not “predetermine” the format of such a release.

But Democrats also are pointing fingers—voicing their own doubts that Republicans are adopting strong security protocols as they share the footage with Carlson, who has downplayed the violence on January 6 and promoted conspiracy theories about the riot being orchestrated by Trump’s political adversaries.

Thompson said his office has been asking for—but has not received—written procedures governing how the many hours of footage would released, and then used.

“If they don’t have anything in writing … then I say it’s a bad idea,” Thompson said.

The fierce debate over the release of the full January 6 footage—and the appropriateness of granting exclusive access to Carlson —comes as McCarthy fights to solidify support from some Republicans wary that the new Speaker lacks the conservative bona fides to take on Biden and the Washington “swamp.”

Some of those critics said McCarthy had promised them, during the hard-fought Speaker’s balloting, that he would release the full library of January 6 footage in return for their support. Carlson, himself, also suggested that McCarthy pledge to release the tapes to earn support for the Speakership.

McCarthy denied that claim on Tuesday. While he has said in other comments and in a fundraising email that he had “promised” to release the footage, he said that was a reference to a question in a press conference last month—not because of negotiations during the Speaker’s election.

“I’m just following through on that,” he said Tuesday.

It’s unclear if McCarthy’s most vocal Republican detractors—whose backing he needs to pass legislation in a narrowly divided House—will accept a more limited release of the footage.

“Have you ever had an exclusive? I see it on your networks all the time,” McCarthy said to a group of reporters that included correspondents from CNN and MSNBC.

Research contact: @thehill

Report: Some Republicans irate at Kevin McCarthy for feeding Liz Cheney to ‘MAGA wolves’

May 12, 2021

Some House Republicans are furious with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for pushing GOP Caucus Chair Liz Cheney out in a shameless attempt to make Donald Trump happy, Raw Story reports.

They see it as “weak leadership” from a man who has “no moral compass,” Politico Playbook reports—detailing some of the “backlash against the minority leader behind the scenes.”

Politico says the “grumbling” is not just coming “from Adam Kinzinger types,” referring to the Illinois House Republican who blasted McCarthy on Monday with the bombshell revelation that he had warned him there would be violence on January 6 but McCarthy dismissed him.

“Some House Republicans are privately griping about how the California Republican has fed a colleague to the MAGA wolves in his quest to become speaker.”

And ousting Cheney could cost McCarthy the one thing he craves more than anything: becoming Speaker of the House.

“’Kevin McCarthy has pissed off enough members of his own conference that he’s going to have to go back to his former days as a whip to try to figure out where his votes are’ to become speaker,” one House Republican told Politico. That lawmaker “is neither a member of the Freedom Caucus,” the far right extremists in the House, “nor a moderate.”

“I’d be worried if I [were] him. … You have people like me — who are here to do the right thing for all the right reasons and have an expectation of leadership — that are, shall we say, disgusted with the internal squabbling that results from having weak leadership. And it is weak leadership. Straight up.”

It’s not just House Republicans who see McCarthy as weak.

“He’s flip-flopped on [January 6 and whether it’s] Trump’s fault, it’s not Trump’s fault,” a senior GOP aide to a conservative member of Congress told Politico. “It seems like he doesn’t have the backbone to lead. He bends to political pressure. It’s tough to do when you’re speaker. You have to lead.”

Research contact: @RawStory

Down, but not out: 11 House Republicans join with Democrats to boot Greene off committees

February 8, 2021

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) will remain in the U.S. Congress, but will not be seated on any committees, following a vote by the full House on Thursday night, February 4, The Daily Beast reports.

On Wednesday night, 61 Republican lawmakers—30% of the conference—voted in favor of Representative Liz Cheney’s removal as the third-ranking leader in the House GOP after she said that former President Donald Trump had incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. However, 145 voted for Cheney’s survival by secret ballot, in a move that she said “was [a] very resounding acknowledgement that we need to go forward together.”

Less than 24 hours later, nearly 100% of the GOP conference voted to keep Representative Greene (R-GA) on her committees after Democrats forced a vote on Thursday, prompted by a string of reports unearthing her past endorsement of outlandish conspiracy theories and threats of violence against top Democrats.

According to The Daily Beast, this “is the first time the majority party has stripped a minority member of their committee posts.”

Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the move: Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania), John Katko (New York), Chris Jacobs (New York), Nicole Malliotakis (New York), Fred Upton (Michigan), Mario Diaz Balart (Florida), Carlos Gimenez (Florida), Maria Salazar (New York), Chris Smith (New Jersey), and Young Kim (California).

The resolution to remove Greene was approved 230-199, and the freshman from Georgia will no longer sit on the House Education and Labor or the House Budget Committees.

In a floor speech before the vote, Greene sought to distance herself from her past positions—clarifying she believes the 9/11 terror attacks were real and disavowing the QAnon conspiracy theory—while refusing to apologize or acknowledge a host of other comments and posts that have infuriated Democrats.

The vote effectively ends days of drama over what, if any, repercussions Greene might face for her mounting, outrageously offensive paper trail on social media. She was known to be an extreme conspiracy theorist even before her election, but scrutiny of her record grew after a CNN report last week that revealed that before taking office, she said recent school shootings like those in Parkland, Florida, and Las Vegas were staged “false flag” operations.

But Greene’s expulsion from committees—which ice her out from the main venue through which lawmakers do their work—figures to poison the well even further between the two parties, a month after the Jan. 6 attack that had already fomented distrust and resentment across the aisle.

Over the howls of Republicans who increasingly closed ranks around Greene, Democrats framed Thursday’s vote as an unfortunate but necessary step they had no choice but to take—because Republican leadership refused to address the outrageous past conduct of one of their own.

The second ranking House Democrat, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), underscored the stakes of the vote when he appeared on the House floor during the debate on Thursday bearing a poster of a photo Greene posted to social media, in which she posed with a gun next to images of the progressive “Squad.”

 “When you take this vote, imagine your faces on this poster,” Hoyer said to his GOP colleagues seated on the floor. “Imagine it’s a Democrat with an AR-15. Imagine what your response would be.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast