According to a report in the New York Times, the remaining Republican House members who survived the midterm “blue wave” are slowly coming to grips with their loss of power as Democrats take control of their chamber.
As one longtime House Republican lamented: “You control nothing.”
“About two-thirds of Republicans returning to the House for the 116th Congress this week have never experienced the exquisite pain of being on the outs in an institution where the party in charge is totally in charge,” the Times’ Carl Hulse reports. “It will be a rude awakening for many who have known only their exalted majority status.”
According to Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) who has never been part of being in the minority party in the House, there is not much upside to it.
“They say you will have a lot more time on your hands and will vote ‘no’ a lot more often,” he explained before adding, “We have come to grips with the shock of the election, but the shock of governing will still be a wake-up call for some people.”
Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole, who has seen both sides of controlling the House, offered a dour tip for his colleagues facing minority status, stating, “Oh. Sheesh. Smoke a lot; drink a lot.”
Cole also lamented opportunities lost.
“You are going to get some real disappointment,” he explained. “They are going to find out how good they had it in the majority, particularly when we had a Republican Senate, as frustrating as that could be.”
“Unlike the Senate, where individual members can exert some influence whether they are in the majority or not, those on the sidelines in the House have few options,” the Times’ Hulse explains. “After years of being in the know about the House agenda and majority strategy, Republican lawmakers will now struggle to even ascertain what the schedule is.
Representative Peter King, (R-NY) put it more bluntly: “You control nothing.”
“As far as calling the shots, we have nothing like the Senate where one guy can filibuster. You have no recourse,” he added.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), who managed to hang onto her seat in Washington State, tried to put a positive spin of the crushing loss of the House under unpopular President Donald Trump.
“Being in the minority is a chance to think big picture and be visionary and make sure we are drawing the contrast between us and the Democrats,” McMorris Rodgers attempted. “As Republicans, we really need to focus on what it is going to take to win back the voters we lost in 2018.”
As for King, he said Republicans need to prepare for what promises to be multiple House investigations into Trump’s campaign and business dealings initiated by the newly empowered Democrats.
“There are going to be a lot of investigations,” Mr. King said. “We have to be ready to be on defense when the investigations go too far.”
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