Republicans fight in Congress before launching hostilities against Biden

Republicans fight in Congress before launching hostilities against Biden

Republicans will take control of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, where they will have to sort out disagreements within their ranks over who to choose their leader.

Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday and are poised to campaign with President Joe Biden but first have to sort out disagreements within their ranks over who to choose their leader. The new members of Congress elected during the November interim period will meet at 12:00 (17:00 GMT) to take the oath for a two-year term.

For the first time since his inauguration, Joe Biden must contend with a divided House: his Democratic Party retained control of the Senate, but the Republican opposition won a very narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

McCarthy weakened

“Americans are poised for a turning point after two disastrous years under the leadership of the only Democratic Party,” say Republicans-elect, who have promised to launch a series of investigations into Joe Biden’s management of the pandemic or America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. But before they start such hostilities, they must agree to elect the speaker of the House of Representatives, which is by no means a given as divisions within the party run deep.

The election of the “speaker”, the third most important figure in American politics after the president and the vice president, will take place on Tuesday in the plenary hall with a simple majority. Seven years after his first attempt, Kevin McCarthy, who has led the Republican faction in the lower house of Congress since 2014, is hoping for revenge. But California’s elected representative was weakened by the Republicans’ poor performance in the midterm elections, and the “huge wave” forecast by the conservatives failed to materialize.

The party only has 222 seats and needs 218 votes to be elected. However, a small group of elected officials who are very close to Donald Trump have indicated he would set his terms before endorsing him. They accuse him of not having adequately defended the former president. Three even publicly said they would vote against him. “Kevin doesn’t believe in anything, he has no ideology,” attacked Matt Gaetz, a turbulent Florida elected official.

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Kevin McCarthy seems to want to make promises so that history does not stutter: in 2015 he narrowly failed to become speaker of the House of Representatives in the face of a revolt by the right-wing party. But he also can’t afford to go overboard and alienate moderate Republicans. Although its room for maneuver is limited, it currently has no credible competitor. Only the name of the group leader Steve Scalise circulates as a possible alternative, without his chances appearing serious.

Bargain ?

With the majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives, Joe Biden and the Democrats will therefore not be able to push through any new major projects. But with a Senate in the hands of the Democrats, neither will their rivals. Will they entrench themselves in a systematic opposition? To do that, they would have to get together while some of their elected officials are voting with Democrats, as they did in the budget vote before Christmas.

The choice of “speaker” will therefore also serve to gauge their ability to harm the President. Confronting a hostile House could prove a political boon for Joe Biden if he confirms his intention to run again in 2024 – a decision he is scheduled to announce earlier this year. In the event of legislative paralysis, he will no doubt blame the deadlock on weakened Republicans in hopes of turning the situation to his advantage.