A couple of weeks back, I made a couple of mocking (bird) chirps about the soap opera in congress surrounding Kevin McCarthy’s fight to retain his Speakership. Kevin eventually lost it and Congress shut down. Well, Congress has been shut down for ten days now and it is no longer funny.
Two potential replacements came out of the mess, Gym Jordan and Steve Scalise. The republicans decided they were not going to go through the January debacle when 15 rounds of votes were needed to elect McCarthy as Speaker. They would not go to a full house vote until they, internally, found a candidate who would get 217 Republican votes, ensuring that the candidate would win the Speakership in a full house vote.
With me so far? Donald Trump threw his suppport behind Gym Jordan. The Republicans had an internal vote and Scalise won the vote, but nowhere close to the 217 votes needed. For the last week, Scalise had worked feverishly to get the needed votes. He failed. He pulled himself out of the race yesterday. That leaves Jordan as the leading candidate. The trouble is, he will not be able to pull in 217 votes.
The dysfunction is so bad that tensions within the Republican membership are at a boiling point. How bad is it? As per Republican Congressman Mark Alford,
“You know, you could put Jesus Christ up for speaker of the House and he still wouldn’t get 217.”
Republican members are pissed off at the whole sequence of events that led to this. Congressman Don Bacon put it this way,
“We had five individuals today who said they would only vote for Jim and not Steve. So many of us feel it’s rewarding bad behavior if we do that. The problem for me though is it’s not Jim’s fault so I’m just grappling with that. There’s a great quote … if you give a 5-year-old who is misbehaving terribly more ice cream, they will be worse behaving, right? That’s what’s going to happen here if we reward that behavior. So a lot of us are resistant to that.”
Meanwhile emergency funding for Israel and Ukraine is frozen. The Government faces a shutdown deadline in 35 days. If that happens the entire government is shut down, not just Congress. Up until two weeks ago the inmates were running the asylum. Now they can’t even run it anymore. What a sh#tshow!