WASHINGTON — As Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) struggles to get his caucus in line and is named House speaker, the ordeal is more than just a personal embarrassment to him. This is a preview of how inactive the Congress could be in the next two years.

Whoever eventually gets the speakership will need to cobble together a working body that is willing to govern — an exceedingly difficult task given that Republicans hold only one. four seat Lower House Majority If this week’s open warfare between conservatives, moderates and Trump loyalists is any indication, the GOP’s problems are only beginning.

When asked about it by HuffPost, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “As tough as it is, it might be the easiest thing he’ll do all year, because once he’s elected speaker, he’ll have to tell the group.” Gotta keep it together.” McCarthy’s trouble.

Republicans who oppose McCarthy say he will not do enough to stand up to Democrats and President Joe Biden. They want a speaker who will refuse to pass any bill that lacks full Republican support – even though Democrats control the Senate, meaning a bill can’t actually become law without Democratic support. Is.

At some point this year, Congress will need to pass bills to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, allowing the Treasury Department to pay off loans Congress has made over the years. McCarthy’s opponents have already said they will withdraw support from those bills in order to extract major policy concessions from Democrats, even though there is no way the Senate will go along, and even if defaulting on the federal debt would cause a financial crisis. Can

McCarthy’s aides insist that this week’s fiasco does not portend disaster for the next two years.

“I think it’s going to be a good learning experience,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told HuffPost. “We have to figure out how to get to 218 [votes]And it’s going to be tough, but it can be done.”

Rep. Kevin Hearn (R-Okla.) compared the House GOP’s dilemma to one Democrats faced four years ago, when newly elected progressives threatened to turn against the leadership. Democrats have figured out “how to govern with a narrow majority, and we’ll do the same thing,” he said.

Democrats won a 17-seat majority in 2018, before their margin narrowed to four seats in 2020. One key difference between now and then is that McCarthy is no Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), the former Democratic speaker famous for keeping an iron grip on herself. Caucus and at times publicly reprimanded members of the progressive “squad”. It’s not clear that any other Republican can match her in taming a group of lawmakers who are bent on seeing it all happen. McCarthy’s strategy so far has been to reward his most incendiary members with promises of committee seats.

Democrats disagreed only on the extent to which the government should help people, said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.).

“They don’t have common goals,” Kildee said of the Republicans. “Some of them don’t even believe in any kind of significant influence of government on people’s quality of life. They simply don’t believe in it.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a Freedom Caucus member who opposes McCarthy, enjoys the view on the floor of the House Tuesday.

Roy said, “So this is what the House looks like when everyone is here and we’re arguing with corpses in chairs.” “The American people are watching, and that’s a good thing. What we’re doing is exercising our right to vote and debating and discussing the future of this country through the decision to elect a speaker.” .

Senate Republicans, who are far more willing to work with Democrats, seem impatient with their House counterparts.

“We have to be able to work as a team. We have a lot of things we need to accomplish here,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune (RS.D.) told HuffPost when asked about the House drama. Is required.”

Without the Speaker, the House is essentially frozen – no members can formally take the oath, no committees can be appointed and no rules can be adopted. The immediate result is a delay in the GOP’s plans for the new Congress: passage of new legislation and scrutiny of Biden’s administration.

McCarthy has made no progress in garnering the support needed to become speaker after three failed votes on Tuesday. The voting process is expected to resume on Wednesday. Since December 1923, the House has not required more than one ballot to elect the Speaker. In 1855, the process took 133 ballots and two months.

“It’s not just today. It’s going to be everyday in the House Republican majority,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) warning on Tuesday. “It is not that they will not be able to govern. It is that when they refuse to govern they are going to be a shameful public train wreck.

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