Despite House Speaker Mike Johnson’s pledge to unite his squabbling caucus, Republicans remain as divided as ever, Last week, the acrimony within forced Johnson, like his predecessor, to approve a stopgap measure to avert a government shutdown. Republicans have until early next year to pass a more long-term budget with conservative reforms, but chances for that look slim. The House GOP also refused to impeach Mayorkas, although impeaching him, or better yet Biden, is the only way the GOP can stop Biden’s Great Replacement invasion. But Republican lawmakers simply ignored Biden’s demographic attack on the Historic American Nation and instead demanded unrealistic spending cuts.
Johnson’s two-step plan would fund some parts of the government until January 19 and the rest until February. Yet the plan doesn’t change or really cut anything. It simply kicked the budget battle farther down the road. That supposedly gives Republicans more time to negotiate a better deal, and allows for more focused negotiations over specific government programs.
But several conservatives rejected it. The House Freedom Caucus opposed it because it contained “no spending reductions, no border security, and not a single meaningful win for the American People.”
The caucus added this complaint:
Republicans must stop negotiating against ourselves over fears of what the Senate may do with the promise ‘roll over today and we’ll fight tomorrow.’”
Freedom Caucus announces opposition to Speaker Johnson stopgap plan, by Emily Brooks, The Hill, November 14, 2023
Ninety-three Republicans voted against Johnson’s measure, so he was forced to rely on Democrats to pass it. That’s what ended Kevin McCarthy’s speakership earlier this fall. No one is currently talking about removing Johnson, however [Democrats help Johnson pass GOP bill to avoid government shutdown, by Rachel Scott et al., ABC News, November 14, 2023].
Of course the Freedom Caucus is right that the bill contained no meaningful changes and punted on the budget battle. But Johnson compromised for a reason. He can’t unite his caucus.
Fractures surfaced a week ago. Republicans were expected to pass a transportation and housing measure and another on financial services. These were supposed to please conservatives because they were individual appropriations bills that contained notable cuts to government spending. But coastal Republicans opposed the transportation bill because it cut funding for Amtrak. Republican squishes opposed the financial services bill because it cracked down on DC’s Leftist abortion laws. Rather than risk an embarrassing defeat, leaders saved face and canceled the votes.
Republicans were despondent. “We’re ungovernable,” lamented one anonymous House Republican to NBC. “I don’t think the Lord Jesus himself could manage this group,” said conservative Texas Rep. Troy Nehls [House Republicans nix votes on two funding bills as shutdown deadline nears, by Sahil Kapur et al., NBC News, November 9, 2023].
And, of course, these fights had nothing to do with immigration. The House and Senate GOP are about as united as they can be on wanting serious reforms to immigration law enforcement and border security. As I reported last week, Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insist border security must be tied to Ukraine spending, a top priority for Democrats. Establishment Senate Republicans released a solid immigration plan to be put in the budget bill. This plan would build a border wall, reinstitute Remain in Mexico, toughen the standards for asylum seekers, and curb the regime’s power to grant parole to illegals. The only disagreement among Republicans was whether the party should demand even more. But the GOP appeared united in wanting meaningful change.
The real fight wasn’t within their party—it was against Democrats. Biden and Democratic leaders claim to be open to changes, but insist that they must be paired with an Amnesty. That’s unacceptable to Republicans and their voters.
Republicans could win this fight and make the other side surrender if they stuck to their guns and remained firm in their demands. Republicans could make the president relent and stop the invasion without conceding an Amnesty. Of course, that requires good leaders and members who would put aside their petty interests to serve a bigger cause.
But the House caucus is too fractious. And this division isn’t caused by immigration. Despite having a razor-thin House majority and Democrats controlling the Senate and White House, many Republicans think they can enact their dream agenda. The Freedom Caucus wants spending cuts over anything else. This may be good, but they don’t have the power to achieve it. If they can’t get squishes in their own party to support the cuts, they can’t expect Senate Democrats and Biden to agree.
And spending cuts pale in importance to an invasion of millions of illegal aliens—and future Democrat voters. Americans care far more about the invasion than spending. The base isn’t begging for cuts to Amtrak. It wants a border wall and more deportations.
Nevertheless, House conservatives likely won’t give up on their spending demands. They want the party to threaten a government shutdown to get what they want [Texas Republicans divided on funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown, by Matthew Choi, Texas Tribune, November 14, 2023]. This would work if it’s primarily over immigration. But if they make it over spending cuts, an issue of less importance to voters, it probably won’t work. And if it did work, it would probably come at the expense of any immigration gains.
Republicans can’t even get immigration-related actions done outside of the budget bill. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene pushed for a snap vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas because he is openly breaking immigration laws and has failed to secure the border. The measure failed after eight Republicans joined with Democrats to table it.
Reasons among the eight varied. Representatives Tom McClintock of California and Ken Buck of Colorado argued that Mayorkas hadn’t technically committed an impeachable offense. The other six support impeaching Mayorkas, but they want the case to be made in the committee investigations first and then advanced to a floor vote.
“The bottom line is this, I actually want to impeach AND convict the guy, not just impeach,” Oregon Rep. Cliff Bentz said in a press release. “Last night’s resolution had not gone through the regular order committee process and thus gave a political out to the Senate” [These 8 Republicans voted against Rep Greene’s Mayorkas impeachment push, by Andrew Mark Miller, Fox News, November 14, 2023].
The charitable reading: The GOP wants to make a clear case to the public before acting. The uncharitable reading: The GOP has cold feet about tackling the unindicted Cuban-Jewish visa fixer and found an excuse to not impeach.
The charitable reading sounds plausible. More of the public would support a Mayorkas impeachment if they knew what he was doing. But if Republicans never act, then carefully making their case is just an excuse for inaction.
The week’s disappointments provoked Texas Representative Chip Roy to explode:
For the life of me, I do not understand how you can go to the trouble of campaigning, raising money, going to events, talking to people, coming to this town as a member of a party who allegedly stands for something... and then do nothing about it.
One thing. I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing—one—that I can go campaign on and say we did. … Explain to me one material, meaningful, significant thing the Republican majority has done besides, well, “I guess it’s not as bad as the Democrats.”
[Chip Roy Furiously Tears Into Fellow Republicans, by Kate Plummer, Newsweek, November 16, 2023
He’s right. Republicans have nothing to show for their House majority.
Much of this is due to moderate cuckery, especially in the case of the lack of action on Mayorkas’s impeachment. But some of it is due to conservative obsessiveness with spending cuts. Blame can be found all around.
The GOP now has more than a month to get its act together and secure the border. But the delays matter. Record numbers of illegals are invading. Hundreds of thousands of freshly arrived illegals will now be in the U.S. by the time of the next budget negotiations. The invasion must be stopped. And removing those already here will be nearly impossible apart from a GOP president’s ordering Operation Wetback II. Spending can be cut any time.
The GOP must listen to Roy and actually do something for their voters. Everything else must be put aside to stop the invasion—budget fight regardless.
America’s future depends on it.
Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.