Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Republicans worry they have no achievements to run on in 2024

By 37ci3 Jan22,2024

WASHINGTON — As Congress begins the new year, Rep. Andy Biggs gave a television interview and made a startling admission: House Republicans haven’t done anything they can run for.

“We have nothing. I don’t think we have anything to go out there and campaign for,” the Arizona Republican told the conservative Newsmax network. “It’s embarrassing.”

Anchor Chris Salcedo responded with a bemused laugh. “I know,” he said. “The Republican Party with a majority in Congress has no success.”

The exchange captured the dynamics of Republican lawmakers heading into the 2024 election: They have passed little legislation since winning majorities in 2022 and struggled to make the basics of governing with the Democratic-led Senate. Their first year was celebrated instead brokenness and chaos, making it difficult for the party to appear before voters this fall. The challenge is likely highlighted by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “revenge” against enemiesIt is more central to his bid for a comeback than to shared policy goals as he continues to spread fabricated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

With 10 months to go before Election Day, Republicans still have several opportunities to salvage a historically ineffective session of Congress and pass new laws in a divided government.

A spending agreement House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. between, giving the GOP a chance to pass spending cuts. Potential Senate immigration deal allowing them to tighten asylum and border laws. And a bipartisan tax bill that the vast majority passed through committee Friday presents a rare opening for GOP supporters in the business community to introduce tax breaks.

However, none of these measures are guaranteed to become law. Right-wing members, including Biggs, rebel against some for not being conservative enough. The prospects for the emerging immigration bill could hinge on Trump, who seeks to create chaos at the border as a weapon against President Joe Biden in the general election.

The tax bill faces some Skepticism from Senate Republicans and fierce opposition from the business-affiliated Wall Street Journal editorial board he complained that it would give “Democrats a huge policy victory” on the child credit. “Republicans didn’t get much done in the 118th Congress, and as they struggle to compensate, they may be hurting real policy now,” the paper said.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, RN.C., a former acting speaker, said Johnson should “seek broader advice from the most vocal people in line” — referring to far-right members who oppose compromise with the Senate — and warned that without some legislative victories, the GOP may suffer politically.

“If we continue to prolong the pain and create more suffering, we will pay the price at the ballot box. But if we can go ahead with the administration and get the best policy, then you can open this business,” McHenry said. “But at this point, we are sifting through the wind because we cannot pass the main object on the road. After we pass this main object, it is the president’s activity related to the economy, the president’s activity related to national security.”

“We’ve got to get the hell out of here, cut the best deals we can get,” he said. “And then continue with the political year.”

“They can’t pass the agenda”

Democrats intend to highlight the majority’s poor record this fall.

“I think people are paying attention,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “This is clearly a Republican conference where the only thing that brings them together is impeachment and criticism. They are on this topic because they cannot pass the agenda. They can do nothing to help the American people. And that’s why we plan to make it an issue throughout the year.”

Rep. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Fla., the inspector general, said there is still time for Republicans to score some victories. “If we can do the tax bill and we can do the appropriations bills … if we can do something to really strengthen the border … then I think that would be a highly, highly, very successful Congress,” he said. he said.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who represents one of the 17 GOP districts Biden won in 2020, praised the tax bill and said he wants to fund Ukraine and Israel, help Taiwan and secure the border.

“I hope there are enough adults in the room who are willing to focus on progress, not cleanliness,” Fitzpatrick said.

GOP senators agree. “It would be great if they could hang their hat on some accomplishments,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, who previously served three terms in the House.

Cramer said the record of accomplishments since Republicans took over the House majority has so far been “pretty damn thin.” He warned that if conservatives scuttle the immigration deal, it could hurt swing-district GOP members who would benefit from the gains as they fight for political survival in competitive districts.

“It would be ironic if the thing that prevented them from hanging their hat on good immigration or border security policy was an election, because that might be the only thing that could save some of them,” Cramer said. “The whole ‘management burden’ that I was hoping would weigh them down enough to be serious hasn’t worked so far.”

“We keep doing the same stupid things”

House Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., said divided government always makes legislation difficult, but argued that since the GOP has taken over the House, “it’s not what we’ve seen that’s great progress here, it’s what we’ve stopped.”

“Undoubtedly, so far we have avoided shutting down the government; this is no small achievement,” he said. “I actually think the House races are going to be shaped by the presidential election more than anything that’s going on here. The country is very evenly divided. “I don’t think a lot of people are going to vote for a guy for president and a guy from another party for local congressman or congressman.”

For some Republicans, that’s not good enough.

Frustrated by the lack of accomplishments, state Rep. R-Texas. When Chip went to the floor to give a fiery speech around Thanksgiving for Roy, he received national attention.

“I want my Republican colleagues to give me something – one! – I can continue the campaign and say that we did it. One!” Roy shouted. “Everybody sitting in the complex, you want to come down and explain to me one tangible, meaningful, significant thing that the Republican majority has done: ‘Well, it’s not as bad as the Democrats.’

Rep. Richard Hudson, R.N.C., the GOP campaign chairman, said members expressed their displeasure to Roy about comments that the party did not deserve a majority.

“I don’t think it’s helpful,” Hudson said. “I bet some Democrats will take his words and make some ads out of them.”

But he added that he doesn’t think Roy’s rant will affect any races in the fall. He said Republicans have had “legislative achievements coming out of the House,” citing conservative measures to increase fossil fuel energy production and a “parental rights bill” that have gone nowhere in the Democratic-led Senate.

“I think we’ve got a record to go,” Hudson said.

Roy told NBC News that he stands by the criticism because “nothing has been delivered yet — no final product.” He was not impressed by the message from his colleagues. On Thursday, as Congress passed its third temporary funding bill in five months, Roy returned to the floor to question the value of the Republican majority.

“By the way, it doesn’t matter who sits in the speaker’s chair or who has the majority,” he said to C-SPAN cameras on the House floor. “We keep doing the same stupid things.”

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