As the Senate prepared to pass an omnibus spending package to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, many House Republicans could barely contain their disgust. In fact, one GOP contingent issued an unusual threat.
A group of 13 GOP lawmakers sent a written warning to their Senate counterparts on Monday with an unsubtle message: They vowed to reject any legislation championed by Republican senators in the next Congress who vote for the spending package this week.
The next morning, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy endorsed the threat, saying GOP senators’ bills “will be dead on arrival in the House” if Republicans in the upper chamber ignore the right’s “objections.”
A day later, on Wednesday, the contingent grew from 13 conservative House members to 31. Fox News reported:
Thirty-one House Republicans are doubling down on their threat to oppose any legislation in the next Congress that is favored by GOP senators who vote for a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill this week. The group of House Republicans, led by Texas Rep. Chip Roy, says the threat is serious. In a letter sent to Senate Republicans on Wednesday, which was obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, the lawmakers said they would block “even the smallest legislative and policy efforts.”
“Kill this terrible bill or there is no point in pretending we are a united party, and we must prepare for a new political reality,” the lawmakers wrote.
This wasn’t some offhand comment made during a conservative media appearance; this was a written message.
As expected, many GOP senators didn’t care, and the spending package — two days after McCarthy condemned it as a “monstrosity” — cleared the Senate with 18 Republican votes. In effect, the GOP senators patted the House conservatives on the head and said, “That’s nice,” before moving on.
And that means, by the reasoning of the 31 House Republicans who sent Wednesday’s warning, that there’s “no point in pretending” that the GOP is “a united party.” Republicans, the argument goes, “must prepare for a new political reality.”
Stepping back, it’s sensible for the party to tackle its internal differences right now. After electoral setbacks in 2018 and 2020 — the latter of which left the GOP without the White House, Senate, or House — Republicans expected this year to ride a “red wave” into power. Instead, Democrats defied history and had an unexpectedly good year.
Given the circumstances, it stands to reason that GOP officials would take the opportunity to pause and consider foundational questions about the party’s direction.
The problem for Republicans — well, one of the party’s problems — is that no one in the GOP seems able to describe the “new political reality” with any real clarity.
House Republicans are fighting over their leadership and direction. Senate Republicans are fighting over their leadership and direction. House Republicans aren’t pleased with their Senate counterparts, and Senate Republicans don’t appear to take their House counterparts seriously.
All the while, the Republican National Committee is at odds with itself over its future, and much of the party is wondering aloud when Donald Trump will go away — even as the former president tries to position himself as the frontrunner of the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
As 2022 nears its end, the GOP is slipping deeper into disarray, and no one in the party appears to have any idea what to do about it.