The ongoing internal problems in the Republican Party have deepened as members of a kind of "trouble-makers caucus" have been blocking their colleagues from critical meetings with officials in Washington or from home as well as with constituents.
CNN.com reported about the ongoing feud between members who are getting more desperate to stop problems they perceive with fellow Republicans.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) explained that far-right members tend to ask for a roll-call vote on every bill. There are a number of non-controversial bills like the remembrance of someone, the naming of a post office and other minor issues that could easily be decided by a voice vote. Instead, the House is forced to have a vote where each member has to leave whatever they're doing in their office, often a few blocks and several stair flights away, and do a quick vote, then run back.
"The votes have eaten up precious floor time, scrambled travel plans and forced members to pull the plug on both constituent meetings and fundraisers," the report explained. "They maintain there is plenty of time to read the bills and most of the legislation that comes up under the fast-track process are non-controversial."
So, Bacon wants to see some consequences.
“Demanding roll call votes on every bill comes at a cost,” Bacon said. He's a Republican in a blue district which means a constant fight for his seat. “Some of these vote series go on for hours, and members lose meetings with constituents as an example.”
There are members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, which was founded in the early days of the tea party, that are also irritated with the radical members.
"It’s screwing all of us,” said one member of the conservative officials. It's a strategy that essentially stops all legislative business, which could be the strategy Democrats adopt if they take over in November, the report suggested.
“They’re like second graders, throwing tantrums every day,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who chairs the House Rules Committee. “It’s clear (House Minority Leader) Kevin McCarthy has no control over his members. I get more complaints from Republicans about these votes than I do from Democrats.”
But he said he has little sympathy for the GOP complaints after they were the ones who demanded a roll call vote to begin with.
“Tough s*it,” he said. “They look like a bunch of clowns.”
Things came to a head before a two-week recess, when members were trying to get out of Washington on Thursday. Over and over Republicans Scott Perry (PA) and Chip Roy (R-TX) demanded roll call votes that led to a number of officials risking missing their flights home. Members could be heard shouting “regular order!” and demanding things move quicker.
Roy makes it clear he has no intention of stopping, claiming, "when you have things pass quickly, without the ability to review it, you’re then accepting all of the language in a bill. Every one of those sentences matter.”
Officials on both sides maintain there is plenty of time to read bills in the fast-track process. It doesn't simply happen the second it's proposed and the issues under that process are non-controversial.
The two men say that their strategy is to attack Democrats trying to pass a bunch of bills before the election that make Republicans look bad. Already Republicans have voted against bills that would make the child tax credit permanent, create paid family leave and maternity leave, a bill to help the baby formula crisis, and a bill to denounce domestic terrorism and provide funding to combat it. It's a request that law enforcement has been making since the last election.
“If there’s just a voice vote, you’re on record as having supported things that you don’t support,” Perry whined.
Another example that Bacon cited specifically was the federal cyber security bill that did pass unanimously when there was a voice vote this week. But the Freedom Caucus demanded it be a recorded vote. After that one member decided there were jurisdictional issues. Bacon had to then whip lawmakers for the bill's support, ultimately passing overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.