The Impasse in the House

Unless I am mistaken about the order of things, the impasse over selecting the next Speaker of the House will end very soon for a simple reason: since no members can be officially sworn in until there is a Speaker, it means none of them can draw a paycheck. That will tend to concentrate the mind of many House members.

I am not as averse to the current general scene as many commentators. In fact I think there is something useful and healthy to disrupting business as usual in Congress—sort of like the effect Trump had. As I put it on Twitter, not having a functioning House of Representatives is almost as good as a government shutdown.

It is less clear the renegades have played their hand well, however. Demanding a vote on term limits, for example, is a futile gesture. Even if it did pass the Senate, the Supreme Court has already ruled against statutory term limits, and is unlikely to change its mind. [UPDATE: The term limits demand comes reportedly from Rep. Norman, and calls for a constitutional amendment. Aside from getting members on the record, which might have a little use, it is a waste of time. It will never pass the Senate with a 2/3rds vote, and will not likely be ratified by 3/4ths of the states. The only prospect for term limits is an Article V constitutional convention.) A balanced budget amendment likewise seems a nonstarter. And the demand that a “vacating the chair” vote can be triggered by a single member is especially  ill-advised. With such a narrow majority, Republicans need a strong Speaker, not a weak one who could be removed in a fluke if just a handful of Republican House members miss their flights to DC one day, and voila—you’ll have Speaker Hakeem Jeffries. And ditto for requiring a two-thirds vote for rules changes (as I understand it—or does this just mean inside the GOP House caucus? The news reports are unclear on this). It seems more likely that the real motivation of the renegades is simply to prevent McCarthy from becoming Speaker, and puffing up their own public profiles. When Marjorie Taylor Greene (who is supporting McCarthy) is the voice of moderation and compromise, you know we’re in a strange new world.

A better tactic would be to demand the next Speaker allow votes on specific riders to appropriations that force the Biden Administration to roll back its war on domestic energy production, and similar things. These have a better chance of success even in the Democratic senate. We’ll be discussing this at some length in the next episode of the 3WHH podcast.

Meanwhile, the memeosphere is having a field day:

And nobody is having more fun than the Babylon Bee:

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