Now that Republicans have closed in on the Democrats’ House majority, they plan to use as many procedural tools as possible to make the Democratic agenda impossible to advance.
House Republicans are on track to pick up as many as 12 House seats, leaving Democrats with a very slim majority.
This means House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might not even win the speakership again—and, more importantly, it means radical progressives in the House won’t be able to get anything done, said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.
“We are going to use every tool that we have to fight for conservative principles and to battle against socialists,” Scalise told Politico. “And we have more conservative members coming in who want to be a part of that fight.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said that one of the strategies Republicans hope to use is to continuously introduce legislation that would force Democrats’ most “vulnerable members to cast tough votes.”
This will make it difficult for Pelosi to pass any kind of legislation since she won’t be able to afford to lose a single member of her party.
During the current term, Pelosi has used the power of the gavel largely symbolically to push through bills that the GOP-controlled Senate would never seriously consider.
But the resulting gridlock and toxic atmosphere created by those partisan tactics appear to have backfired.
“Speaker Pelosi is gonna have a tough time,” said Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., who serves as a deputy whip and is running for GOP conference secretary.
“She’s gonna have to make a decision,” he added: “Does she want to work with Republicans to get things done? Or does she continue to cater to the base of her party?”
Republicans expect the divide between the Democratic Party’s moderate base and leftist wing to deepen over the next two years.
The tension between the two sides is already public. Several progressive members, such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., have been publicly rebuking moderate Democrats who blame them for the Democrats’ House losses.
“There’s some very big divisions in the Democrat conference,” Scalise said, “and it’s only going to get worse for them.”
To exacerbate this division, Republicans plan to use a few procedural tools, including drafting discharge petitions, which require 218 signatures, and “motions to recommit,” which allow the minority to amend a bill before final passage.
House Republicans are confident they will be successful in using both of these tools, and even some centrist Democrats reportedly fear that the GOP will block their agenda completely.
Democrats are also worried that Republicans will gain even more seats during the 2022 midterm elections if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden becomes the next president. It is clear to many Democrats that unless they rein in the far Left, the GOP will retake the House.
“Do we want to win, do we want to govern, or do we want to be internet celebrities?” House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said on a call last week, according to Politico. “I think it’s a useful conversation for us to have because the socialism message wasn’t helpful.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pointed out that the GOP would have the historical advantage in 2022 if Biden wins, since the opposing party almost always gains congressional seats.
But more importantly, he said, Republicans have the fundraising advantage thanks to Ocasio–Cortez and her radical policies.
“The best way to raise money is just let Nancy Pelosi and AOC [Ocasio-Cortez] talk,” he said.