The Republicans are still licking their wounds from the disappointment of the legislative elections on November 8.
Like every noon on January 3 of odd years, this Tuesday the new Congress that came out of the polls is constituted.
The Republican Party has not only failed to conquer the Senate, but also its majority in the House of Representatives is so precarious (222 to 213 seats) that Kevin McCarthy, its candidate to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives , negotiates against the clock with his own to ensure his election in an environment marked by internal divisions.
It is just an appetizer of the battle for control of the Republican Party in the next two years, which will once again have Donald Trump as the protagonist.
Since the Succession War, the
the third authority in the United States after the president and the vice president (who chairs the Senate), has not been elected on the first ballot.
And it was exactly a century ago, in 1923. A failure for McCarthy, therefore, would acquire historical overtones.
The distribution of blame for the bad electoral result weighs on the resistance of the congressmen of the right wing of the party (the Freedom Caucus, or Group of Freedom) to support McCarthy, 57, who has served as leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives since 2019. Against those who hold Donald Trump responsible, the most conservative Republicans, declared supporters of the former president, blame McCarthy for having mismanaged the campaign.
Both, in fact, have accused each other of the bad results.
An alternative to McCarthy is not in sight, however.
Although a small group of congressmen from the Freedom Caucus formed a sort of faction called Never Kevin, a broader group of centrist representatives responded with buttons reading OK, for Only Kevin.
Kevin McCarthy, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, in a May 2022 image.J.
Scott Applewhite (AP)
Negotiations to get closer have dragged on even through New Year's weekend and there is already a clear conclusion: even if he wins the election, McCarthy will be a
The candidate has had to make concessions to wayward Republicans and even with that his support has not yet been guaranteed.
Initially, McCarthy can only afford to have four of his congressmen defect, but there are many more who are reluctant to support him.
McCarthy, a California congressman, has agreed to change House rules of procedure if elected.
Among them there is one that threatens to make him hostage to the hard wing of the party during the two years of his hypothetical mandate: the one that allows a vote of no confidence to be urged to remove him only if five representatives request it.
In addition to admitting that sword of Damocles, McCarthy has offered to the most Trumpist group of his to dissolve the commission of inquiry into the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 as soon as possible (which is not surprising) and create another in its place. to investigate the use of the federal government as a political weapon.
It is a way of attacking the Administration of President Joe Biden and of questioning decisions such as the search of the Trump mansion in Mar-a-Lago (Florida) by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other actions of the Department of Justice against the former president.
There is no mention of another demand from the hard wing of the party: a commitment to block initiatives that do not have a majority within the Republican group itself.
With this, they try to prevent the Democrats, who control the Senate, from being able to pass laws with the vote of a few opposition deputies in the House of Representatives.
The candidate to preside over the House of Representatives tries to win over the dissidents by prohibiting telematic voting or remote participation in committees in the new House regulations or by suppressing the metal detectors that Pelosi ordered installed after the assault on the Capitol to prevent access with weapons to the chamber.
He has also proposed rescuing the Republican norm that forced an alternative item to be cut every time the House approves a new expense and granting a minimum of 72 hours from when a bill is raised until it is submitted to the plenary session, thus avoiding express laws that some representatives indicated that their rights as parliamentarians were undermined.
After presenting these proposals on New Year's Day, a group of nine Republican representatives – and some opponents of McCarthy are missing, such as the controversial Trumpist Marjorie Taylor-Greene – have released a letter in which they are still not satisfied.
“Nothing changes when nothing changes, and that must start at the top.
It is time to make the change or get out of the way ”, Scott Perry, who heads the letter, has tweeted.
Although they value some progress in the proposals for the regulations of the Chamber, the signatories point out that the commitments are too vague and that they arrive late.
The Republicans once again put McCarthy's own candidacy on the target (electing him would be the "continuation of past and present Republican failures", they maintain) and continue to demand that a single representative be enough to launch a hypothetical motion of no confidence.
If McCarthy is not elected the first time, the vote will be repeated as many times as necessary.
The record is set at 133 rounds, in 1855. The election of the president is the essential step for the House of Representatives to start working.
Between one vote and another, congressmen can intervene to defend or criticize the candidate, a time that could be used to continue negotiating.
The Chamber can vote, adjourn the session and take some time or even change the rule that requires an absolute majority of those who participate in the vote and that simply the most voted be elected.
For that, in turn, it would be necessary for the majority to approve it and it is, in any case, a risky operation that in an improbable extreme case could end up giving the position to the Democrats.
The Freedom Caucus already made a list of its demands at the beginning of December.
The new letter hardly dwells on the specific proposals, but it does stress that McCarthy's proposal "does not address at all" a point that they consider crucial: that the Republican leader of the House of Representatives refrain from intervening in the open primaries.
In the Republican primaries for the elections on November 8, Trump and McCarthy have clashed in some constituencies by supporting different candidates.
With the former president in low hours due to his judicial problems, his political accusation for the commission of the assault on the Capitol, the bad electoral results, the loss of internal support and the irruption of alternatives such as the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, in the face of the In the 2024 presidential elections, the Trumpists want to prevent McCarthy from playing against it from his position in what promises to be the great battle for control of the Republican Party.
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