Latest News 27-03-2024 12:02 9 Views

Republicans blast departing GOP lawmakers as razor-thin majority fuels fears of Dem takeover

The early departures of several key Republicans have reignited tensions within the House GOP, as the lawmakers grapple with the prospect of a historically slim one-vote majority.

'There's no excuse for this,' Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., told Fox News Digital. 'The country's at stake. To put the Democrats in control of what might happen is inexcusable.'

Meanwhile, another GOP lawmaker said they understood people leaving, lamenting the state of 'civic discourse' and suggesting more Republicans could soon be out the door.

What's in jeopardy is the thin line between Republicans losing the majority — whether by intentional exits or unintended incidents — to Democrats.

Back in January, Republicans had started the 118th Congress with just a single-digit majority. Multiple early departures since then, along with the expulsion of Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., has slimmed that down dramatically.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., shocked colleagues on Friday when he announced he’s stepping down on April 19, weeks after Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., also revealed he’d be stepping down early. Both announced earlier that they would not be seeking re-election.

Gallagher and Buck were hammered by their conservative colleagues, with Gallagher in particular getting attacked because his planned departure date would come after Wisconsin’s deadline to hold a special election — meaning the seat would be vacant through 2024.

'If he's going to resign, then do it. Let the people of Wisconsin pick a replacement. That would be the right thing to do, to me,' Norman said, questioning whether the decision was 'a little strategic.'

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., went even further, telling 'Sunday Morning Futures' that Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., should expel Gallagher earlier so that a special election could take place. 

'Any strong Republican speaker of the House would expel a member for leaving our razor-thin majority in such a delicate, delicate state,' Greene said on Fox News Channel.

His departure will likely leave a one-vote majority until June, when a special election for ex-Rep. Bill Johnson’s safe red Ohio seat will likely expand the GOP majority. Johnson left earlier this year to take over as president of Youngstown State University.

Norman pointed out the precarious position the House GOP now finds itself in: 'What if somebody has a heart attack? Or what if a tragedy strikes any number of us?'

But a GOP lawmaker granted anonymity to speak more freely suggested it was those same hardline conservatives who have been fueling dysfunction within the House — such as holding up House floor votes and deposing ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who also left Congress early afterward — that are partly responsible for pushing people out the door.

'There aren't that many blaming [lawmakers leaving early], because I think everybody understands it. I’ve heard dozens of members talk about leaving, walking away from it all,' the source said.

'I think it should be a cautionary tale for all of us about our political environment. This is not just the House — we have millions of Americans who are disgusted by the toxicity and dysfunction in the system, and they're checking out, too. And if we don’t fix the underlying problem with our civic discourse, we're just going to get more of them — members of Congress through the citizenry, checking out,' they added.

The GOP lawmaker called Buck and Gallagher 'hard-working' and 'principled.'

Another conservative, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., predicted further 'gridlock' in the wake of Gallagher and Buck's departures in a weekend interview with Fox News Live.

'When you are seeing people intentionally leave in order to prevent primaries from happening so those seats can be filled, I just think that they're doing the American people disservice,' Luna said. 'You are really only screwing over the Republican Party — the American people.'

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