House GOP leader tries to focus on unity, as members swap beards: NPR


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Is on track to be elected Speaker of the House if the GOP gains control of the House. He worked behind the scenes to ease tensions within the House GOP conference.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Is on track to be elected Speaker of the House if the GOP gains control of the House. He worked behind the scenes to ease tensions within the House GOP conference.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Republicans are in a strong position to regain control of the House of Representatives in 2022. They are united in their drive to defeat President Biden’s agenda and their message to voters that Democratic policies lead to record inflation. But in recent weeks, some members of the right wing of the party have openly attacked their GOP colleagues and in some cases even threatened to defeat them in the primaries.

Minority parliamentary leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Recently admitted that the inappropriate rhetoric of his own members was a distraction.

“These are things we wouldn’t want to deal with, these are things the American people want to focus on – stopping inflation, gas prices and the like. And anything that deviates from that causes problems.” , he said of the latest controversy sparked by Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert. Boebert made Islamophobic comments about Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim. A McCarthy-initiated phone call between the two failed to dispel the situation, and Boebert essentially doubled down on his comments when Omar demanded a public apology.

Dispute between GOP lawmakers becomes public

The Boebert controversy exposed the split in the GOP conference over divisive comments when an ally du Coloradan started attacking another Republican.

Rep. Nancy Mace, RS.C., was heckled on social media by another Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Who said she was not a true conservative after challenging the Boebert’s rhetoric. Greene also threatened to support a main challenge in Mace’s race for re-election.

Mace told NPR she recently traveled with a group of Democrats overseas and said working across the aisle was what voters in her competitive constituency wanted to see from lawmakers in Washington.

“When we’re united in this country, when we work across the aisle, truly together in a bipartisan way, we’re stronger on the world stage and the world is a safer place for it. And that’s it. that all of our focus should be and that is where my focus will be, ”Mace said.

And she warned that extreme rhetoric can deter voters her party needs to win.

“These are big signs of a big momentum from our side, but we can only win if we communicate with moderates and independents at all levels before next year,” added Mace.

For months, tensions within the conference have simmered. Some right wing members of the House GOP conference argued that House Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill last month should lose their committee assignments or face d ‘other consequences.

Boebert recently complained about GOP members who helped negotiate a deal in the Senate to avoid defaulting on the country’s credit limit. She labeled them “RINOs” – Republicans in name only.

“Many RINOs pose as Tories and legislate like Pelosi, let me tell you the American people will remember that,” Boebert said, comparing other GOP members to the Speaker of the House in a video posted on social networks.

Former President Donald Trump regularly issues statements attacking Senate Republicans who accepted a deal to avoid catastrophic default or backed any element of Biden’s agenda. In some cases, he actively supports key challenges against GOP lawmakers he sees as unfair, including those who supported impeachment earlier this year. Trump publicly endorsed Boebert in a statement Wednesday, saying she was a “a fighter against losers RINOs and radical Democrats.”

McCarthy said the conference will address issues internally and has largely avoided speaking publicly about the tensions. The minority leader, who hopes to get the hammer in the next Congress, continues to distinguish between those on the far right who demand full opposition to any issue on Biden’s agenda and those who say they want to find common ground on issues of concern to voters at home, such as repairing roads and bridges.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., Who was one of 13 House GOP members who backed the infrastructure bill last month, agreed on the need to tone things down.

“Teams don’t win when they fight and some people need to know there are consequences,” Bacon, a former Air Force commander, told NPR. He believes his party can win 30 to 50 seats next fall, but not if it does not overcome internal wrangling.

Behind the scenes, Bacon says McCarthy recently messaged the entire conference: stop shooting yourself. Bacon wants the focus to be on the issues and thinks it’s important to say what policies his party will pursue. But he also says it’s also important that they be candid about the limits of a divided government if they take over the House.

“One thing we’ve done in the past is we’ve promised too much,” he said.

House GOP plans program for 2023

McCarthy has created several task forces that have drawn up political plans for what Republicans will do, they will take back the majority

“We will fight inflation, we will secure our border, we will lower gasoline prices and we will focus on the economy,” McCarthy recently told reporters.

But McCarthy continues to be regularly trapped by some on the far right. These members reject racist rhetoric or misinformation about Democrats or publicly question his leadership or loyalty to Trump. Any move to discipline them could mean he loses their votes to be elected president if the GOP wins enough seats in next year’s mid-terms.

Bacon surpassed Trump in his Nebraska district in 2020, and he said the party shouldn’t be fully defined by the former president.

“I don’t think we should be the Trump-a-phobe party or the Trump-a-phile party,” he said. He added that he wanted the party to avoid marking someone as either totally conforming to the former president or totally against.

Speaking about Trump, Bacon said, “He worked well at the border, he worked well with the USMCA, so there is one thing we can agree on – but we can also say that we don’t. do not agree with the name calling, “he said. , noting Trump’s recent bashing of the late General Colin Powell, who was a Republican.

Biden’s approval ratings are currently at their lowest for his presidency. Republicans on Capitol Hill believe they’re on the right track to recapture the House, but most of the grassroots want to focus on hammering the message out on the inflation issue, instead of pushing back. hammering each other.


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