The Circular Firing Squad Continues - McCarthy Vows to Block Priorities of Any Senate Republican Who Votes for Omnibus

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Having been a political junkie since I was a wee lad, I can’t count the number of times or election cycles in which Republicans have dutifully assumed the circular firing squad formation and promptly commenced firing. I’m aware of no other political organization on the planet more adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory than the American Republican Party, with the current iteration ranking near the top.


As if the internecine war between Republican Never-Trumpers and Always-Trumpers (yes, both groups exist; if you disagree, chances are you’re a member of one group or the other) isn’t damaging enough, the battle within the House Republican Caucus continues to rage, and now threatens to engulf Senate Republicans, as well. Bottom line: the Democrats couldn’t write a better script for their adversaries to follow.

As reported by Breitbart, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) on Tuesday sided with 13 conservative Republicans who vowed to kill any legislation from Senate Republicans who vote in favor of the 4,155-page, $1.7 trillion omnibus bill that was negotiated with Democrats before a new Republican majority could take control of the House. Can you spell betrayal?

Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (Pa.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz), along with nine other conservative House members, signed a letter pledging to block priorities of any of the Republican senators who rushed to support the massive bill, just days before skedaddling out of town for the Christmas holiday. Why? You’ll have to ask them; I’ve seen this kind of self-defeating nonsense for decades, which is not dissimilar to the U.S. in 1968 bowing to lopsided USSR terms in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.


Anyway, the above conservatives wrote, in an open letter:

At the very least, due respect for Americans who were elected would call for not passing a ‘lame duck’ bill just days before members fly home for Christmas and two weeks before a new Republican majority is sworn in for the 118th Congress. Senate Republicans have 41 votes necessary to stop this and should do so now.

Not only is the above quote correct, anyone with a scintilla of understanding of the Democrat Party knows full well that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer would do exactly the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot.

The conservatives added their previously mentioned threat:

We are obliged to inform you that if any omnibus passes in the remaining days of this Congress, we will oppose and whip opposition to any legislation priority of those senators who vote for this bill – including the Republican leader.

Including the Republican Leader for sure, as he strongly indicated on Twitter:

Agreed. Except no need to whip—when I’m Speaker, their bills will be dead on arrival in the House if this nearly $2T monstrosity is allowed to move forward over our objections and the will of the American people.



As noted by Breitbart, at least one Senate Republican agrees. Utah Sen. Mike Lee tweeted late Monday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “should not assume that every senator will agree to facilitate their efforts to ram this through.” Lee added in a separate tweet:

This bill has been written in large measure by two retiring senators, one Republican and one Democrat. Why should we move heaven and earth trying to force their priorities on the very people they keep in the dark—all according to two senators’ contrived, manipulative timeline?

Outstanding question, for which there is no legitimate answer.

The Bottom Line

As has been the case with multiple Republican Leaders before them, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy find themselves in self-inflicted tough spots. Both have failed multiple times to put the brakes on Democrat initiatives when they’ve been in a position to do so. Both have enabled much of the Democrat agenda over the last two years. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the animosity against them from conservative lawmakers.


In McCarthy’s case, he’s now desperately playing hardball against GOP moderates, fighting like hell to win the Speakership on the first or second ballot when Congress reconvenes on January 3.

As for Mitch McConnell, he continues to battle pro-Trump forces who’d just as soon see him catch on fire and burn to the ground. Grand Old Party indeed, ain’t it? A bit hyperbolic, but you get the point.

And the “official” 2024 primary season hasn’t yet started.


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