Republican blame game heats up as their majority thins

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Republican blame game heats up as their majority thins | The Hill Greg Nash

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is seen during a House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing entitled “Influence Peddling: Examining Joe Biden’s Abuse of Public Office” on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Who’s to blame for the GOP’s dwindling House majority? It depends on whom you ask. 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) made waves last month when she pointed fingers at a pair of fellow Republicans who decided recently to quit Congress before their terms were up, reducing the party’s already slim advantage to a hairline one-vote margin.

Yet Greene declined to mention a third lawmaker who dashed for the exits prematurely: former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a close ally of Greene who resigned his seat in December after conservatives booted him from the Speakership two months earlier. 

McCarthy’s high-profile resignation has incensed some of the hard-liners in the GOP conference, who are accusing him of abandoning the party ahead of a high-stakes election cycle when control of the lower chamber is up for grabs.

“After our former Speaker left us,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told reporters recently, “it kind of left us a little bit in the lurch.”

The internal blame game has highlighted both the deep divisions dogging the House GOP — where conservative agitators are bashing moderates as apostates, and moderates are bashing the hardliners as obstructionists — and the miniscule majority that’s made it all but impossible for Republican leaders to unite the warring camps for the sake of passing the party’s policy priorities.

The tit-for-tat is, in a way, a continuation of the bitter battle that broke out over McCarthy’s ouster in October, which pitted allies of the California Republican — Greene, for one — against the eight GOP rabble-rousers who voted to remove the Speaker, including Burchett.

Those tensions have continued to simmer in the months following McCarthy’s dismissal, and are only expected to become more pronounced as the exodus of GOP lawmakers continues. 

The latest lawmakers to decamp are Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who resigned March 22, and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who is planning to step down April 19. Both have been independent voices willing to defy party leaders on high-profile votes, including the recent impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, which Buck and Gallagher

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