With only days to go before the government runs out of money and shuts down, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is flopping as Speaker as dysfunctional House Republicans are once again being consumed by infighting.
With government funding set to run out in just three days, divisions within the House Republican Conference are surfacing yet again.
Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are determined to wrap up a yearlong spending bill this month, but the conservative House Freedom Caucus is starting to suggest pushing the spending fight into next year. The caucus says the holiday season time crunch is hurting the GOP’s leverage in negotiations with Democrats.
The government is slated to run out of spending authority on Friday and Republican and Democratic leaders are at an impasse over an omnibus spending bill. At issue are several policy riders, including a proposal that would increase scrutiny of Iraqi and Syrian migrants. House conservatives are pushing to include that language in the spending bill, but the White House is opposed to it, despite widespread support on Capitol Hill.
The same clueless crew of House Republicans who pushed Boehner out (the House Freedom Caucus) is not trying to throw its weight around with Paul Ryan. House Republican leadership wants to get the bill done and go home for Christmas, but the delusional far right of the Republican House majority has convinced themselves that they will have more leverage after the holidays.
The reality is that if Republicans wait until after the holidays, they will be playing into the Democrats hands. No Republican member of Congress wants to shut down the government in 2016, but that is what the “Freedom Caucus” is setting up.
A familiar script is returning to the House. Republicans may need to rely on Democratic votes to keep the government open. It turns out that John Boehner was never the problem. The issue remains that House Republicans are completely unable to govern.
Paul Ryan promised a smoother running House, but the same tensions are bubbling under the surface that are the perfect recipe of chaos.
It turns out that leading the world’s most screwed up legislative body is not as easy as Paul Ryan thought it would be.