Republicans point fingers after embarrassing defeats

House Republicans take stock after a series of disastrous losses in Congress, highlighting smoldering divisions within the Republican conference and prompting fresh attacks on Republican leadership ahead of a critical election cycle. I’m having a hard time doing it.

“Last night was not a good night for House Republicans. Anyone who says it was is not being honest,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (D) told The Hill.

Republican leaders made a breakthrough Tuesday with two votes they believe are important to the party’s message: impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and providing military aid to Israel.

The two items could have served as a counter-message to the Senate deal that combined border reform with aid to Israel and Ukraine, but House Republican leaders rejected the deal as insufficient and Participated in the erasure.

Rather, both measures ended in failure.

And in the aftermath of the floor fiasco, stunned rank-and-file Republicans scoured the ashes to find who was to blame, leaving Democrats who voted down the Israel bill and who resigned from the House with razors in their wake. He blames Republican lawmakers for doing so. -Thin margins.

But privately some Republicans are angry with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana), viewing his two defeats as a byproduct of his inexperience.

“Look, give this guy a little bit of grace, because he’s new, he hasn’t been in the room like the other speakers, and he’s kind of trained for this position. That’s why,” said a Republican lawmaker on condition of anonymity. Speak up. “But it was a real failure.”

In the short term, the impact of Tuesday’s failure may prove insignificant. Johnson has already pushed for votes on both the Israel bill and the impeachment bill next week, and the possible return of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) to Washington could help pass them.

But with Republicans locked in a series of high-stakes legislative battles with President Biden over Ukraine funds and federal spending, and with a series of deficits on high-profile bills this week, the long-term impact is unlikely. It could be more serious. Confidence in the chairman’s strategic chops has been somewhat eroded.

Johnson was asked about criticism that he was inexperienced and about comments from Representative Thomas Massey (R-Ky.) who said the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was an “unmitigated disaster.” , suggested that the meeting was in motion. In the right direction.

“What happened here was a mess, but we are cleaning it up,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding: “I don’t think this is a reflection on the leadership. It’s a reflection on the body itself and where we’ve come from in this country.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson slammed Democrats for voting against aid to Israel, saying the nation was “watching a messy sausage-making process unfold.”

But not everyone is holding Republican leaders accountable. Some Republicans downplay the pair of failing votes, interpreting their shortcomings as delays rather than defeats.

“Yes, we obviously didn’t know what the tally was going to be and it was a little disconcerting to lose by one vote… but it looks like we’ll be able to settle it next week,” said Bob Good, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Stated. (R-Virginia) said.

Prime Minister Johnson said his “Plan B” on aiding Israel is to bring it to a normal process next week, which requires a smaller margin of success, and that Congress will revisit the article of impeachment against Mayorkas once Republicans get the vote. He said he would take a vote. Scalise returns after missing the game due to treatment for blood cancer.

Rep. Byron Donald (R-Florida) agreed: “When things go wrong on the floor, you have to look at the leadership team and figure out what went wrong.” “But at the same time, I have to move on to the next job. I can’t be too picky. I’m not.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) suggested another culprit: Mr. McCarthy, who resigned from Congress after being ousted in December.

“After the former Speaker of the House left us, we were left a little bit lost,” Burchett said. “So I think it will be picked up again and I think it will be successful.”

A willingness to place blame elsewhere means Mr Johnson is unlikely to be at risk of immediate ouster like Mr McCarthy, despite Republicans’ dissatisfaction with the vote. are doing.

The anonymous Republican added that perhaps the reason Johnson’s missteps are given more leeway is “not so much because he’s doing a great job, but because there’s no alternative, no good alternative.” .

Republican leaders refused to introduce a standalone Israel funding bill on Tuesday, even though they knew it would not have the two-thirds support needed to pass it under the fast-track process. Selected. Conservatives objected to not including offsets in the bill, and Democratic leaders said they would oppose the bill, criticizing the decision to separate aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine as a “cynical” move to weaken the Senate bill. .

Johnson used the vote as an opportunity to criticize Democrats.

“There’s no reason at all for them to oppose what’s in that bill. They’re doing it for political purposes,” the Speaker said.

But coupled with the spectacular failure of Mr. Mayorkas’ impeachment, the failed vote served to exacerbate Republican dysfunction rather than differentiate it from Democrats.

Ahead of the impeachment vote, two Republican senators, Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.) and Rep. Tom McClintock (California), planned to vote “no” in a public vote, and several others The Republican congressman kept his cards close to his chest. .

After refusing to clarify his position throughout the day, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) voted against the effort, quickly becoming the third Republican to defect. But Mr Gallagher suggested Republican leaders shouldn’t be surprised, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: “They’ve been flogging no for over a month.”

Top Republican lawmakers swarmed Mr. Gallagher on the House floor, appearing to try to persuade him to change his vote.

The final nail in the coffin for Republican leaders was Representative Al Green, who was not scheduled to vote but was driven to the chamber from the hospital after surgery wearing blue scrubs and tan socks. It was a surprise and surprising appearance by Congressman (Democrat, Texas). .

The last-minute screening changed the math, meaning three Republican defectors meant a tie vote to fail, rather than passing by just one vote.

Mr. Johnson lost the vote 214-216, sealing another embarrassing defeat by a narrow Republican majority.

“This was a total miscalculation,” the Republican lawmaker said. “That feeling was compounded by the fact that Mike sat in his chair the whole game and seemed to repeat their miscalculations. That number was compounded by the fact that the subsequent suspension vote against Israel was rejected. It tripled. So, yes, it’s a mess.”

Johnson also acknowledged that Republicans were caught by surprise by Greene, telling reporters on Wednesday: equation. ”

Taking a victory lap Wednesday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, R-N.Y., said, “It is our responsibility to let House Republicans know which members will or will not appear on the House floor on other days and on related occasions.” It’s not my responsibility.” With the votes given. ”

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