On the surface, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) might seem like the kind of House Republican who might be willing to work with his Democratic colleagues. It's not because he's moderate -- he's actually a very conservative Texas Republican who used to work as an aide to Sen. Ted Cruz -- but Roy has occasionally displayed some independence from his party.
For example, Roy argued in January that Donald Trump engaged in impeachable misconduct. He also called on scandal-plagued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) to resign. When most House Republicans voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, the GOP congressman was not among them.
With this in mind, some might be tempted to look at Roy as a principled conservative who'd be willing to play a constructive role in bipartisan governance. That would be a ridiculous mistake. The Washington Post reported this morning:
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.), in a recently surfaced video, said that he considers it the "job" of House Republicans to slow down the Democratic agenda on infrastructure and other priorities until after next year's elections and that his party will benefit from "18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done."
In context, the congressman was speaking late last month to a group called Patriot Voices and was specifically discussing his opposition to infrastructure proposals.
"Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022, and then get in there and lead," the Texan was recorded saying.
In the same remarks, Roy pointed to a bipartisan infrastructure compromise negotiated by a group of senators and the White House. "Nobody knows what anybody's gonna do right now," the Republican lawmaker said. "That's the thing, this is the problem. I actually say, 'Thank the Lord, 18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done.' That's what we want."
In case this isn't obvious, Roy's repeated reference to "18 months" refers to the remainder of the current Congress. He's describing a timeline in which he and his party do what they can do curtail governing for a year and a half, create "chaos," make sure Congress can't "get stuff done," and then wait for Republicans to regain power in the 2022 midterm elections.
It's worth emphasizing what is and is not significant about a report like this. For example, there's simply no point in clutching one's pearls and decrying GOP members of Congress as being "partisan." We already knew that. It's not a secret. Republicans are making no meaningful effort to suggest otherwise.
What matters is the lingering belief that Democrats should commit to bipartisan governance anyway.
I'm not sure what more GOP officials could do to make themselves clear. In May, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared that "100 percent" of the Republican Party's focus "is on stopping" the Biden administration. A month later, Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said his goal is to "make Joe Biden a one-half-term president," arguing that if Republicans can retake Congress in 2022, the GOP can shut the policymaking process in 2023 and 2024.
Now, Chip Roy is making a related pitch: he wants "chaos," not just on infrastructure, but on everything until Republicans have more power.
The lesson is hardly subtle: GOP officials aren't interested in bipartisan governance. They don't intend to work in good faith toward consensus solutions. Their goal is to derail the policymaking process until they can control it.
Circling back to our earlier coverage, we've been told repeatedly in recent months that Democrats have a responsibility to sit down with the Republican minority, offer concessions, make compromises, and earn GOP buy-in on everything from infrastructure to voting rights, immigration to criminal justice reforms.
It's a perspective rooted in the idea that Republicans are prepared to pursue meaningful goals with their Democratic brethren. They're not, and to pretend otherwise is increasingly ridiculous.
Republicans don't want to help Biden succeed; they want to make every possible effort to ensure his failure. They don't want to govern; they're desperate to stop Democrats from governing. With Biden in the Oval Office, the GOP has a guiding principle: Failure is the goal.
Democrats can and should learn from Chip Roy's candor. Democrats have the procedural wherewithal to advance popular and important legislation without Republicans' input, and GOP lawmakers are practically inviting the governing majority to do exactly that.