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Anti-McCarthy Rebellion Continues

Kevin McCarthy has nowhere near the cat-herding skills of his immediate predecessor, by all indications. And while the Trump indictment has deflected a lot of attention from the problem (presumably to the Speaker's relief), his week has gone from bad to worse on the cat-herding front.

To start, the Freedom Caucus temper tantrum, which began earlier this week with the defeat of two measures related to gas-stove regulation, is still a going concern. The FCers are currently stopping any legislation from coming to the floor for a vote, which means that business in the House has ground to a halt. McCarthy says that expects things to return to normal on Monday. Exactly what the FC wants, and what exactly is going to persuade them to abandon their tantrum in the next 72 hours or so, was not made clear.

But at least McCarthy is doing OK with the centrists, right? Not so much, apparently. Some of them, particularly those who have to run for reelection in swingy districts, are getting tired of participating in show votes demanded by the right wingers, show votes that put the centrists in a bad position. At a meeting on Wednesday, for example, about a dozen centrists were being briefed on upcoming votes by members of McCarthy's leadership team. During the meeting, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) got aggravated by yet another abortion bill that has no chance of becoming law, and asked: "Why the hell are we doing this?" The meeting pretty much went downhill from there.

McCarthy really, really, really wanted to be Speaker and is not going to surrender his gavel easily. At the same time, the FCers are clearly not willing to vacate the chair at this point, or they would have already done so. So maybe the House Republican Conference can muddle through its dysfunction and can keep on, keepin' on. That said, stories like the ones above were the sort of stories being written in the month or so before then-Speaker John Boehner ended up stepping down. (Z)

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