The incoming minority party has remained solidly behind its leader, Representative Hakeem Jefferies (DN.Y.), through more than a half-dozen rounds of voting. In fact, it is so unified that the pair of Democrats who missed Wednesday’s procedural vote due to off-hill political meetings apologized to the rest of the caucus during a closed-door meeting on Thursday, according to two people familiar with the situation.
A handful of Democrats have begun preliminary talks with their GOP counterparts about ending the impasse, including private chats on the floor, phone calls and even late-night meetings. But caucus lawmakers agree: It’s too early for any real talk of a power-sharing agreement to save Republicans further embarrassment.
Even as some Republicans continue to float — and perhaps threaten — cooperation across the aisle as an option, Democratic leaders have categorically refused to engage even with the hypothetical. He has repeatedly pointed to Jeffries’ larger vote share than Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, and Jeffries noted Thursday that it was “time for Republicans to act together.”
And at the start of the eighth ballot, his deputy, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), repeated Jefferies’ tally of 212 votes seven times.
Democrats across the board were skeptical that any sort of cross-party power-sharing deal would work — even those that came from state legislatures that were under so-called coalition control, such as Alaska.
Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), a former state legislator, said she was open to a House sharing power between the parties “if there was a coalition that was workable.”
But she conceded: “If you’re building a coalition with a field of 40 people, it’s a lot more manageable than 435. And in Alaska, things don’t seem nearly as complicated. It is not just elected members with a very rigid philosophy.
During a caucus meeting Thursday morning, none of the members brought up the possibility of working with the GOP, according to three people attending. Instead, Democrats were still prepared to repeatedly oppose Republican attempts to adjourn the House and said they were prepared to stay in town until a speaker could be found.
At one point during the meeting, Jefferies began repeating the mantra of his predecessor, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Our diversity is our strength, our unity is our strength”—only to have the rest of the caucus repeat it in unison.
“It’s a battle between them right now, between their right wing and their extreme right wing,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “They have to figure it out.”
In fact, the vast majority of House Democrats are eyeing the incursion with some schadenfreude across the aisle.
“I don’t see us helping them. I think they need to help themselves and I think they need to do their job,” said Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-N.Y.). I mean, what the hell? You were sent here to rule. What is this?”
Additionally, the ongoing impasse has hindered the ability of lawmakers from both parties to run for office. Democratic offices received guidance Thursday apologizing for earlier miscommunications that incorrectly indicated they would not be able to handle any new constituent casework with the House, according to a copy reviewed by POLITICO. Will be The updated guidance blamed the error on “ongoing chaos” from Republicans.
The longer the Speaker’s battle drags on, the more it will affect the operation of the House because the Chamber cannot do anything until it elects the Speaker. If the rules are not adopted by January 13, for example, the committee’s staff will not be paid.
“We are, right now, birds of one wing. We can’t fly, we can’t do anything. And it’s making us vulnerable,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who said he is concerned that US enemies are plotting to capitalize on the chaos — especially with tensions rising overseas. “If you are Poland, you are scared to death.”
As they look to break the impasse, Republicans have looked to moderate Democrats, especially from districts that voted for former President Donald Trump, as potential partners to help resolve the speaker’s impasse. For. But those MLAs are not cutting yet.
Rep. Pat Ryan (DN.Y), who won a close reelection fight last year, said of Republicans: “When in charge, take charge, right? We’re united. We’ve made our choices.” As they say, it’s time for them to lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Only a handful of Democrats have been willing to publicly entertain the idea of a compromise. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), has raised the idea of endorsing a moderate Republican speaker who could garner Democratic support, like Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
and rape. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) has convened a “unity caucus” of Democrats who may be able to vote for McCarthy, but said she left the final decision up to Republican and Democratic leaders who are listening to the idea. Can and “think again” about filling in the blanks and what that means.
Pelosi, who united Democrats despite their own slim differences in the last Congress, said it was up to Republicans to figure out how to sort out their problems.
“They have to make decisions. They wanted to take control of the House. They have to take responsibility for doing that,” she said. “We can help with the legislation. We can help preserve the dignity of the House of Representatives, but it is up to them to help themselves elect the Speaker of the House.
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