If you are a Democrat, you have to be happy about how things recently transpired concerning Congress and the President. You saw the President, along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans, at a ceremony touting the repair of a bridge that is being financed with the funds of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act bill. Also, on the second anniversary of January 6 attack, Biden gave the Presidential Citizens Metal to individuals in law enforcement who defended the Capitol from the mob attack and election officials who also at great personal risk made sure that the results were properly certified.
At the same time, the country got to see the dysfunctional Republican Party in the House of Representatives at work. This contrasted with how the Democratic Party acted when it reelected Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Pelosi had the same problem that McCarthy had. She had to deal with “The Squad” and some other progressives, while McCarthy had to deal with the right-wing freedom caucus. Pelosi used her time wisely between the election in November and the speaker vote in January to make deals so there would be support in January to have her be voted speaker in the first round.
McCarthy, on the other hand, did basically nothing for two months. He thought that having Trump’s support and having a strong majority of support with the Republican members would force the holdouts to cave in. He was dead wrong. It took 15 ballots, the longest since 1859, to pick a speaker. Kevin McCarthy finally won the position, but at what cost? He looked weak bowing to the demands of the far-right group of the party. The irony is that this is the same group that has been election deniers or downplayed the significance of what occurred on January 6, 2021. The terms of McCarthy’s caving in are not totally known, but it will lead to the extremists getting more power.
McCarthy had gone to Mar-a-Lago after he had criticized Trump’s conduct on January 6 to kiss his ring so that he would receive Trump’s support. The vote showed how little that mattered. Representative Lauren Boebert even mocked Trump when she said he was supporting the wrong person. Those who had opposed him were mostly MAGA members and they didn’t care what he said. Trump only got involved at the end. It is questionable whether his involvement mattered to sway any vote.
In addition, McCarthy said nothing about George Santos because he needed his vote. Now what is he going to do about Santos? Stay silent. Brazil wants him to face charges down there. Santos won’t go. If the Republicans want to keep defending Santos claiming that everyone lies about their background, that’s an argument Democrats are happy to let them make. It is clear that Santos is in a league of his own, and defending him only hurts his party.
Few people like to pay taxes and even fewer like the IRS. However, without taxes, the government cannot survive and provide necessary services. The speaker, trying to feed into this sentiment, said that the first bill that the new speaker promised to the floor was to eliminate the additional 87,000 IRS agents. This is a response to the increase in funding in the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the prior House. The 87,000 is a made-up number. It is even more than the number of agents the IRS now has. Besides the fact it wasn’t 87,000 agents, this Republican promise is not a bill to help ordinary Americans. It is a plan to help those with means fight the IRS. It is logical that if the IRS is underfunded, it would spend their time going after low-hanging fruit - those whose returns will be easy to audit and who do not have the funds to hire accountants and lawyers to fight them. Statistics have borne this out. For example, in the FY (Fiscal Year) 21, those who claimed an income of less than $25,000 a year using the earned income credit filed 14.8% of all tax returns. Yet they received 46.6% of audits. In contrast, those with income of $200,000 to $1,000,000 a year were audited one-third of the rate of the low-income payers. Moreover, although the number of millionaires has grown since 2015, the IRS has only audited one third of the number of tax returns in 2021 as they did back in 2015.
Hopefully, the American people will realize that the Republican proposal for what it is: to help its rich donor base and not ordinary Americans.
I cannot wait for the so-called “law and order party” to investigate the FBI, the Department of Justice, and “woke” prosecutors. Marjorie Taylor Greene should just keep saying “defund the FBI.” I’m sure that will play well with moderates and independents. Let them go after the members of the January 6 Commission and try to blame Nancy Pelosi for the security failure. It will only remind people of what happened.
I don’t envy the position that Speaker McCarthy is in. I doubt he will last the next two years. Right now, it appears that more he acts, the better Nancy Pelosi looked when she was speaker. Also, giving extremists power will be a reminder to Americans why it is important to support moderates, whether Republicans or Democrats. Extremists on both ends of the political spectrum are bad for this country. Americans showed it in the midterms by voting against election deniers, and I would expect it to continue in 2024.