For all the opposition to Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House, he sure is doing the kinds of things to gain support from those with a skeptical eye.
Initially, I wasn’t a fan of McCarthy following up a subpar election performance with a promotion, but it quickly became apparent that there is no alternate path. No other viable Republican who could gain enough support stepped up to the plate, and continuing to hold things up would only benefit Democrats at this point, who have floated the idea of electing a “unity candidate.”
With that said, even though it appears McCarthy has his leadership position wrapped up, he’s still making hay in ways that should make conservatives happy. He’s reaffirmed his commitment to playing by the rules Nancy Pelosi set, kicking Adam Schiff and other bad actors off their committees, and now he’s trying to stop Mitch McConnell’s latest betrayal.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told members of his conference he is a “hell no” on an omnibus spending deal during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday as Congress looks to avert a government shutdown ahead of its Dec. 16 deadline.
His comments come as members of the House Freedom Caucus, many of whom have voiced opposition to voting for the California Republican to become the next speaker unless major concessions are made, push for a short-term continuing resolution, arguing that Republicans will have more leverage to negotiate a better deal when they take the majority in January.
“As I said last week, Republicans will soon be in the majority and in the driver’s seat to fight for our priorities,” McCarthy tweeted on Tuesday. “That’s why every Republican should be a NO on Democrats’ lame-duck omnibus bill.”
For background, McConnell is once again shaking in his boots about the possibility of a government shutdown, and he’s apparently willing to hand Democrats funding for their agenda for the next year to avoid one. That would be a complete capitulation that essentially negates the power the GOP gained in the mid-terms, pushing off any fight over spending until late 2023, heading into 2024.
But guess what 2024 is? That would be a presidential election year, so you can bet McConnell will be ready to capitulate again to avoid affecting the election. Are you starting to see the game yet? There’s always a reason to fold and give up the fight. That, despite the fact that there’s no real electoral evidence that holding the line and letting the government shut down costs political parties at the polls.
Republicans are set to take power in less than a month. As McCarthy notes, it is moronic to let Democrats set the agenda for the next year in a lame-duck omnibus bill. That McConnell is even entertaining that when he has the ability to force through a short-term continuing resolution is mind-numbing, though not surprising.
Here’s the deal with McCarthy. He’s not perfect, but what does a Speaker do in a dead-locked government except allow investigations, kick people off committees, and obstruct nonsensical legislation? I think he’s proven he can be trusted to do all that (which is why Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, is now supporting him). Give the guy his shot in the face of no better options, and we’ll see what things look like in 2024. What the GOP can’t afford to do is bungle this and let Democrats join with a few squish Republicans to elect a unity candidate. That would be disastrous.