After a New York Times article detailing how Kevin McCarthy’s (R., Calif.) hotly contested presidential fight has weakened his confidence in his colleagues, longstanding tensions among House Republicans have erupted again over the course of of the weekend.
The president is said to be particularly irritated by some Republicans, including Jodey Arrington (R., Texas), the chairman of the Budget Committee, and Steve Scalise (R., Louisiana), the House Majority Leader. It took McCarthy an unprecedented 15 ballots to win the job through the chaos and infighting of January.
According to Jonathan Swan and Annie Karni in The Times, “Mr. McCarthy has told colleagues he has no faith in Mr. Arrington, the man tasked with providing a budget framework outlining the spending cuts Republicans have declared that they would demand in exchange for everything to increase the debt ceiling.” According to more than half a dozen people familiar with his thinking, McCarthy continues to view Arrington, who tried to nominate Scalise in the presidential vote, “as incompetent,” The Times reported.
The revelations, in turn, appear to have made few, but even more sour ties between McCarthy and some conference attendees.
An unnamed House Republican told Axios on Saturday, “Members I’ve spoken with are just stunned by his rebuke of his budget chair, and certainly our leadership.” The lawmaker expressed skepticism that McCarthy would finish the entirety of his time as a speaker. I am at a loss for words.
McCarthy is under pressure from Rep. Ralph Norman (RS.C.) to mend fences with members and uphold their agreements. According to Norman, “the agreements reached by President McCarthy, among others, are to begin the ten-year balanced budget NOW and with his initiatives and directives, it is HIS responsibility to obtain the 218 votes to ensure the financial security of our country JUST AS HE DID BY GETTING THE 218 votes FOR THE SPEAKER.” Unidentified Republican #2 agreed.
Senior House Republican: “He made a bunch of promises during the speaker race that were always untenable, but he made them anyway.” “A lot of these things are going to collide at some point, and he gets anxious and looks for people to blame.”
Scalise and Arrington both declined to comment, although the latter sent Axios an official statement about the urgent work the budget committee is doing and the need to stay focused.
My budget committee colleagues and I are focused on enacting a budget that will end this reckless spending and restore economic common sense to Washington before it’s too late. “Our country is looking at the barrel of a debt crisis,” they said.
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