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It’s hard to think of a more poignant split screen, or one that’s more revealing about this moment in American politics, than the one that appeared on Friday afternoon.

on the one hand, across from the White House, was a Heroes Honoring Ceremony who fought former President Donald Trump’s coup attempt two years ago — at the ballot box, during the vote count, and at the end, january 6 attack on Capitol Hill.

Among the recipients of the Presidential Civilian Medal were Michael Fannon, Eugene Goodman and Carolyn Edwards, three former officers who defended the Capitol building from pro-Trump insurgents. Also at the ceremony were mother-and-daughter election activists Ruby Freeman and Shay Moss, both of Atlanta, whom Trump singled out in his remarks — and who later faced death threats.

huffpost SV date Here’s the full story, including some comments from President Joe Biden.

Biden addressed the awardees, saying, “History will remember your names.” “What you did was really consequential.”

The other half of the split screen was on Capitol Hill from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, with the House in the middle of it. 13th vote The next speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy of California, still did not close the necessary votes for himself.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the backstory of this play: A majority of the voting members of the House are required to become the speaker. Because Republicans control the chamber by the narrowest margin, and because Democrats are not going to vote for Republicans, the GOP caucus needs to be nearly unanimous to choose a leader.

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) is seen on the floor of the House after a vote that did not give him enough votes for Speaker of the House, Friday, Jan. 6.

Tom Williams via Getty Images

In normal times, this is not a very difficult task, which is why a Speaker’s vote has passed through multiple ballots for over 100 years. But these are not normal times, and last week, again and again, McCarthy fell short because a small group of extremist Republicans voted no.

McCarthy finally seemed to make some headway on Friday afternoon, when about a dozen “no” votes flipped to “yes”, leaving him ultimately two or three or four short, depending on the total number of members. does. Participate in future votes. (The requirement is for a majority of members to vote, so if some members are absent or vote only “present”, the winning margin is reduced.)

As the House adjourned until 10 p.m. Friday, and some McCarthy supporters prepared to return from the trip, it looked as though he might finally be on track to win, if not Friday, then over the weekend. — and probably by the time you’re reading this. (HuffPost’s Capitol Hill team is covering this story minute by minute, and you can find the latest on our homepage.)

But if McCarthy ultimately prevails, the real story will be the concessions he made to gain the support of extremists.

One in particular stands out: an agreement to allow Congress the equivalent of a no-confidence vote, any time a member requests one. That would make it difficult for McCarthy to challenge even a small group of Republicans, setting up a potential crisis when the US reaches its borrowing limit later this year. If Congress does not vote to raise the “debt ceiling” — that is, to authorize more borrowing — it will default on its bills, potentially causing a financial crisis not only here but abroad.

Most countries do not require a vote to extend the borrowing authority, and it was not generally a major controversy in this country until the presidency of Barack Obama, when Republicans began using debt ceiling votes Demand policy changes as benefits—that is, major cuts to federal programs—that they cannot enact on their own.

They were partly successful in winning some concessions in expenditure. But some Republicans wanted even more dramatic cuts; He believed that then-Speaker John Boehner cut deals too quickly and with too many concessions. House Republicans are voting against McCarthy this week Concerned He would do the same thing, which is one reason they were determined to limit his power – as, apparently, he has agreed to let them.

You may be wondering why this group of extremist Republicans has so much more influence over party leaders than the extremist Republicans of the Boehner era, which was only a few years earlier. And there’s no single, simple answer.

But part of the explanation is a change in the incentive structure on Capitol Hill. Until relatively recently, members had an incentive to follow their leaders, because if they did not, they would not get the committee work – or the concessions in the law – they needed to generate benefits for their constituents and supporters. Was. This made it harder to raise money and garner support and ultimately win re-election.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) delivers a speech in the House chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) delivers a speech in the House chamber during the fourth day of the election for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

Win McNamee from Getty Images

Nowadays, elected officials can garner support and collect donations by making a name for themselves in traditional and social media, which reward rhetoric more than results. And while this is true for both parties, the effects are particularly strong for Republicans because of the insular dynamics of right-wing politics.

“You’ve got people coming in believing that this is a way to vault into stardom,” Norm Ornsteinpolitical scientist and scholar emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute told HuffPost. “And vaulting to stardom means you’re going to be featured at CPAC. It means that by appearing regularly on ‘Tucker Carlson,’ you’ll be able to become a national figure. And it means that you’re going to get a lot of Money is going to be able to come.

Another part of the explanation may be a sweeping change in the Republican Party as a whole – specifically, the advent of a younger generation that grew up hearing from their leaders that the Democrats were socialist and fundamentally anti-American, and like crashing. The extreme measure thinks America’s credit rating downgrade is a worthwhile, even necessary, response to markets around the world.

“If indeed their ideology and the rhetoric they have used all these years is correct – it is not correct, but if it was – then really the only good position to take is that we have to shut everything down.” Heather Cox RichardsonBoston College historian and widely read author Substancetold HuffPost.

Of course, most Americans do not subscribe to these views. But House Republicans are moving forward anyway. With their votes against McCarthy and the concessions they’ve already won, they’re giving themselves an opportunity to impose their will anyway – which, of course, is exactly what the rebels were trying to do on January 6th. When He Tried To Make Trump President Even After Losing The Election

It was an act of political violence. This week’s votes were an act of political extortion. They weren’t the same thing, obviously. But they were not that different either.



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