Republicans in Congress are facing internal criticism over two floor disasters.

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Chaos has been a recurring theme during the 118th Congress.
However, lawmakers escalated the drama last week, as Republicans in both houses sank two key GOP priorities – impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and protecting the southern border – resulting in a double dose of turmoil in the nation’s capital.
“Many people texted me and asked, ‘What the hell are you guys doing up there?'” “I think our base is a little frustrated,” Republican Representative Troy Nehls of Texas told CNN. “We may have the gavel, but we’re not acting like we’re in the majority.”

In the House, Tuesday’s humiliating defeat of Mayorkas’ impeachment attempt, which was immediately followed by another floor setback over a standalone Israel assistance bill, reaffirmed the GOP’s yearlong battle to govern with a rowdy and feeble majority. In the aftermath of the disaster, Republican members are publicly venting their displeasure and pointing fingers at who is to blame, with some doubting their own leadership’s decisions.
“I was embarrassed for our conference, for our party, because we can do better than we did last night,” said Republican Congressman Lance Gooden of Texas.
And the chaos was not limited to the House; on Wednesday, the Senate GOP rejected a bipartisan border security agreement forged by some of its members, causing a nasty internal division inside the Republican conference.

“I have a difficult time understanding how anyone else in the future will want to be on that negotiating team – on anything – if we are going to be against it,” said GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of only four Republicans who voted to advance the border security deal, which ultimately failed on Wednesday.

Republicans in Congress are facing internal criticism over two floor disasters.

She continued, “I’ve gone through the many stages of grieving. Today I’m just pissed off.”

In the House, the pair of stunning floor defeats was so painful that it had many Republicans heaping rare praise on former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for their vote counting skills, as well as pining for disgraced former GOP Rep. George Santos, who was expelled but still cushioned their majority.

“As bad as Pelosi was, she knew her votes before they were cast,” said Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The meltdown, the latest in a long line of tumultuous incidents under this GOP majority, raises new concerns about how Republicans will handle the impending federal funding deadline, as well as their ability to keep control of the House after November.

“It was a bad day.” Two terrible play calls in a row. Both are active alternatives for scheduling. “It was a huge mistake,” said Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, a supporter of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. “The speaker is a very nice man,” he remarked of Speaker Mike Johnson, but added, “He’s gotta learn from his mistakes.”

Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans, who represents a key Virginia swing seat, added, “It’s frustrating for people like me who ran for Congress as a military veteran, a Navy spouse, and a Navy mom.”

Johnson acknowledged the gravity of the situation. He contended, however, that it is simply part of the job of governing. Johnson defended his rookie speakership and promised to bring up the impeachment articles again when there are fewer absences.

“Well, look, it was a mess what happened here but we’re cleaning it up,” Johnson went on to say. “I do not see this as a reflection on the leader. It’s a reflection of the body and where we come from in this country.

Across the Capitol, the ink had barely dried on the bipartisan agreement Senate Republicans helped negotiate to address the southern border, the most conservative legislative response to immigration in decades, when their own Republican colleagues flatly rejected it – partly at the request of former President Donald Trump. The sharp condemnation has left Republicans scrambling for a message on the border and sparked new concerns about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s future.

Republicans in Congress are facing internal criticism over two floor disasters.

It all adds up to a spectacular exhibition of legislative failures in both chambers, making this Congress, even by its own low standards, one of the most unproductive in recent memory.

“I understand we have disagreements, but we must sit down together and figure out how we will solve problems because the American people sent us here to do so,” said GOP Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the lead GOP negotiator on the border compromise.

Holding out a black pen he acquired upon becoming a US senator, he continued, “There is no need for me to have this pen if we are only going to hold press conferences. I can hold news conferences from anyplace.

Lawmakers question Johnson’s decision-making

Johnson knew he had three Republican defections on his hands as he approached high stakes vote to impeach Mayorkas, but he was counting on Democratic absences to help carry the legislation to victory.

Meanwhile, Johnson was well aware that a stand-alone Israel aid bill was doomed to fail, but he opted to put it on the floor, nonetheless, hoping that defeat would highlight Democratic splits over what has long been a contentious subject within their party. However, his wager did not pay off.
As Johnson presided over the chamber, the impeachment effort failed when a House Democrat unexpectedly appeared at the last minute to vote, altering the margins and sinking the resolution. The surprise defeat, which sparked a tumultuous scene on the House floor, largely overshadowed the Democratic opposition to the Israel legislation.

Many Republicans were perplexed by the floor failure of Mayorkas’ impeachment campaign, which had been a long-standing GOP priority.

GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, one of three Republicans who voted against impeaching Mayorkas, said Wednesday that he had made his opinion clear for some time and slammed House GOP leadership for placing the crucial vote on the floor without knowing if it would pass.

“I wasn’t undecided. For more than a month, I said ‘no’. “So, no one was surprised by my vote,” Gallagher told radio presenter Hugh Hewitt. “It is unclear why we barreled ahead with a vote knowing that the votes weren’t there.”

Tuesday’s twin failures presented a new opportunity for members to target their own party leaders, while no one is seriously considering trying to remove Johnson from his position.

Republicans in Congress are facing internal criticism over two floor disasters.

“(Johnson’s) gotta start making good judgements,” said North Carolina Representative Dan Bishop. “He’s up to the challenge. “He’d better start acting like it.”

Rep. Steve Womack, an Arkansas Republican and seasoned legislator, emphasized the leadership should do a better job counting votes.

“We need to know exactly where we are and we need to be careful not to get out ahead of our skis and put something on the floor that we don’t have certainty on,” Womack told reporters.

Another Republican politician, who requested anonymity to speak freely, labeled Tuesday “a massive failure” and stated, “The majority leader schedules, the whip counts, but the speaker is the one who calls the shots at the end of the day.

‘These are setbacks, but they’re not defeats.

While members criticized Johnson, who has been in charge for just over 100 days, they also stated that he needs a grace period and that the party cannot afford another messy speaker fight.

Defenders of the current GOP leadership team characterized the failed impeachment vote as transitory, claiming that Republicans will bring it up again once Majority Leader Steve Scalise returns from medical treatment. Furthermore, Tuesday’s vote put the detractors on record.

“They wanted to nail everybody down, and they did,” said veteran Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a member of the Republican leadership team. “Frustration is inherent in the system here… Look, I believe they are setbacks, but not failures.

Others in the GOP blamed Democrats, accusing them of purposefully concealing their attendance counts. Democratic Representative Al Green of Texas, who was in the hospital recovering from serious surgery, was brought in at the last minute to provide the crucial vote against impeachment.

“The Democrats played hide and seek with us,” Republican Congressman Carlos Gimenez of Florida told CNN. “It won’t matter when Scalise returns and we have a clear majority then. “We’ll put it back up.”

Democrats, for their part, celebrated their success in maneuvering that resulted in a nail-biting vote and embarrassment for House Republicans.

“You never bring a bill to the floor unless you have the votes,” Pelosi, who is well-known for her skill to calculate votes, said CNN. “And in order to know you have the votes, you have to know how to count.”

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