The GOP has been embroiled in a 16-day internal dispute over their Speakership, leaving Democrats observing from the margins, wondering if there might be an opportunity for a deal.
On Thursday, the Republicans intended to hold their third vote to appoint Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as Speaker potentially. However, these plans were paused when Jordan opted to support an interim arrangement to bestow Speaker pro tem responsibilities to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). This idea, however, faced intra-party turmoil, making its feasibility uncertain. In the midst of this, Jordan suggested another vote for the Speakership.
Responding to queries about the Democrats’ strategy, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) likened the situation to a poker game, indicating that Democrats are biding their time and carefully playing their cards. Huffman highlighted the folly of pursuing a hasty deal amidst the GOP’s internal disputes. He further emphasized the risks of prematurely committing, thereby losing any negotiating advantage.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding McHenry’s proposals, the endgame remains elusive, leaving Democrats unsure how long they’ll remain passive observers.
Democrats have been cautious regarding any GOP outreach, with several mentioning no direct approaches or characterizing any conversations as casual. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) conveyed the sentiment, stating the ball is in the GOP’s court to propose a concrete plan.
House Majority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) reinforced the idea that the GOP, being the majority, should resolve its internal challenges. Nevertheless, she expressed openness to collaborative discussions once the GOP reached a consensus.
While Democrats haven’t actively initiated talks, they’ve voiced their concerns, especially about preventing a government shutdown post-November 17. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) articulated Democrats’ objectives, stressing they’re not seeking power but merely ensuring essential legislative activities continue.
Despite the uncertainty, Democrats have respected the GOP’s majority status. Those opposing the proposition to augment McHenry’s authority view it as a precarious move that could further deepen GOP divisions.
Following the prolonged GOP conference, no decisive steps were taken regarding McHenry’s proposal, leading to increased uncertainty.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) commented on the GOP’s internal chaos, suggesting the party needs to come forth with a clear proposal. The leadership void within the GOP further complicates matters, leaving Democrats in limbo.
Summing up the prevailing mood, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) remarked that Democrats are merely witnessing the GOP’s internal struggles and are keenly awaiting the outcomes.