'How do they land the plane?': GOP senators alarmed by 'embarrassing' House speaker debacle

'How do they land the plane?': GOP senators alarmed by 'embarrassing' House speaker debacle

In the U.S. Senate, Republicans greeted Tuesday, January 3, 2023 with a combination of excitement and trepidation.

On one hand, they were glad that Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi would no longer be House speaker and that President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda would be thwarted by a new Republican majority. On the other hand, there were fears that things would not go smoothly with Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s push to become House speaker. And those fears were justified.

After three votes on January 3, McCarthy was still unable to get enough support to be confirmed as House speaker. A group of around 20 far-right MAGA Republicans, dubbed the “Never Kevin” holdouts, instead voted to make Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio House speaker even though Jordan himself was encouraging a vote for McCarthy. The House was adjourned, and McCarthy’s supporters hoped he would be able to win them over and be chosen as House speaker the following day.

READ MORE:Kevin McCarthy is being imperiled by the very 'extremists' he encouraged: ex-Reagan speechwriter

In an article published on Wednesday morning, January 4, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton’s reports on Senate Republicans’ reactions to the speaker debacle that has been taking place in the House. And some of them are not happy at all by the chaos fellow Republicans have brought about in the other branch of Congress.

One of them is Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who told The Hill, “Don’t they realize how embarrassing this is? Is that possible, that people think about that?.... If it’s this hard to elect a speaker, imagine how hard it’s going to be to pass any legislation…. The question is, ‘How do they land the plane?’ And I’m not sure there’s any obvious answer.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina admitted that January 3 was “not a good start” for the GOP’s new House majority.

Graham told The Hill, “At the end of the day, you’re not going to pass a bill out of the House that Biden will sign, I doubt. The bottom line is, what’s the end game here?”

READ MORE: 'We’re on defense': Mitch McConnell juggles priorities after getting 'blindsided' by Kevin McCarthy

The conservative South Carolina senator believes that McCarthy has gone too far to win over the Never Kevin Republicans, telling The Hill, “I think Kevin’s already given away too much.”

In the U.S. Senate, there is no doubt who the Republican leader will be. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will continue as Senate minority leader, while Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York will remain Senate majority leader. And Schumer will do so with a 51-seat effective majority consisting of 48 actual Democrats and three independents who caucus with Democrats: Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Angus King of Maine and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate Republican minority whip, is hoping that House Republicans will choose a speaker sooner rather than later.

Thune told The Hill, “It’s definitely a speed bump…. This is the first important step in getting organized. So, I hope they can get this behind them and we can get a functioning, effective majority in the House because it’s going to be essential and necessary for us to get things done around here. They’re off to a slow start over there, but hopefully, they’ll figure out a way to come up with a path forward.”

Another GOP senator, interviewed on condition of anonymity, believes that McCarthy is facing even greater chaos in the House than former Republican House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan.

That frustrated senator told The Hill, “This is just further evidence of how difficult, in this divided Congress, it’s going to be to pass legislation. For the House to function, the speaker has to have authority. And this demonstrates the next speaker, whoever it is, doesn’t have the authority to manage the House.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene criticizes Tulsi Gabbard in Twitter rant for giving George Santos 'zero grace'

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