• December 6, 2021

Pelosi and McCarthy’s relationship hits a new low

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy faces criticism for telling supporters over the weekend that “it will be hard not to hit” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker’s mallet. , if delivered in 2023 if Republicans take control of the chamber in midterms.

Although both are from California, the two House leaders have a more acrimonious relationship than Pelosi had with McCarthy’s two predecessors, when there was at least some degree of politeness.

But the recent spate of insults and political maneuvering between the two took an already strained relationship to a new level.

On Thursday, Pelosi (D-San Francisco) called McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) an “idiot” for questioning the science behind wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Republicans have rebelled in the House of Representatives demanding masks due to the surge in Delta variant cases.

McCarthy responded by publicly questioning some technology investments made by Pelosi’s husband that have made headlines and referring to her as a “pathetic speaker.”

On Saturday, McCarthy received a mock speaker gavel at the annual Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen Dinner. Republicans are increasingly confident of regaining a majority in the House after the November 2022 elections.

He was greeted with cheers when he told the crowd: “I want you to see Nancy Pelosi handing me that deck. [in 2023]. … It will be hard not to hit her with that. “

Democrats demand an apology, accuse McCarthy of promoting violence against women and use the same rhetoric that led to the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill. Several representatives demanded his resignation.

“The United States has suffered enough violence around politics. @GOPLeader McCarthy is now a possible attacker of @SpeakerPelosi. He needs to resign, ”said Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin). he said in a tweet.

Dear @GOPLeader McCarthy: Don’t you think America has had enough political violence? You should never encourage, threaten or joke about causing violence to anyone, including the Speaker of the House. You must apologize for your statement or resign, ”said Representative Ted Lieu (D-Torrance). he said in a tweet.

McCarthy’s office dismissed the complaints. “He was obviously joking,” said a spokesman.

The current deterioration follows Pelosi’s unprecedented refusal last month to seat two of McCarthy’s options to serve on the House Select Committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill.

She said previous comments by Representatives Jim Banks (R-Ind.) And Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) denigrating the committee and trying to cast doubt on the facts of the attack made them unfit to serve. It was a striking violation of past norms, when the speaker was generally referring to the selections of a minority leader for whom members of the minority party sit on a select committee.

The phone call in which Pelosi informed McCarthy of her decision reportedly ended with raised voices, and McCarthy withdrew all of his picks in retaliation. Instead, Pelosi appointed two more moderate, anti-Trump Republican House members to the committee.

The House Freedom Committee lobbied McCarthy to try to remove her as president in response, something Republicans don’t have the votes to do without the help of Democrats.

Pelosi and McCarthy never had a warm relationship, and it only got worse under President Trump, who was indicted twice by the House under Pelosi.

McCarthy was ingratiating himself with Trump in hopes of regaining a majority in the House in 2020, something Republicans came closer to doing than most expected.

The current three-seat Democratic margin of control in the House has fueled the power struggle between Pelosi and McCarthy. The next big test could be when the infrastructure bill currently being negotiated in the Senate reaches the House.

“There are still a significant number of so-called moderate Republicans … who are going to be who Pelosi can go to say we need their votes on this,” said Brookings Institution congressional expert John Hudak.

“McCarthy could step in and threaten members who work with Pelosi,” Hudak said, adding that he doesn’t expect him to.

While the majority of the House can largely act without the minority, their bitter relationship may worsen partisanship on Capitol Hill.

That could make it difficult to pass routine and uncontroversial bills in the House through a voice vote, rather than a recorded roll call vote, said Catholic University of America professor of politics Matthew Green. Any member can object to the faster voice voting process, which requires a longer roll call vote.

“There are a lot of things that the two sides need to agree on,” Green said. “It would be perfectly plausible, we have not seen it, it could happen, that the minority party said that we are going to demand registered votes on everything.”

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