Republican senators dismayed by ‘ridiculous’ infighting in the House of Representatives

Republican senators are expressing shock and disbelief that conservative allies of former President TrumpDonald Trump On The Money – Biden Warns Oil Industry Memo: Gosar Censored, But Toxic Culture Rises Cleveland MLB Team Officially Renames Guardians Friday MORE The House threatened to strip colleagues who voted for the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill of their committee appropriations.

The incredulous reactions of Republican senators to a motion presented in the House to oust Rep. John katkoJohn Michael KatkoHouse Votes To Censor Gosar From Committees Trump Gives McConnell An Insult-Filled Ultimatum On Biden’s Agenda Only Two Republicans Are Expected To Endorse Gosar’s Censorship MORE (NY) from his position as the highest-ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee due to his vote for the infrastructure bill, reveals the gulf that is opening between the Republican Senate and House conferences.

While the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Schumer, McConnell on Debt Ceiling On The Money – Biden Warns Oil Industry Trump gives McConnell an insulting ultimatum on Biden’s agenda MORE (R-Ky.) It has created a kind of bulwark against the total takeover of the Republican Party by Trump, minority leader of the House of Representatives. Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthy The Memo: Gosar Censored, But Toxic Culture Increases House Votes To Censor Gosar From Committees Ocasio-Cortez Criticizes Gosar, McCarthy For Anime Video Showing His Murder MORE (R-Calif.) He has made public displays of loyalty to the former president and done little to stop the most unruly and provocative pro-Trump conservatives at his conference.

The markedly different attitudes between Senate and House Republicans were exposed this week when Trump’s allies in the lower house made an effort to punish the 13 Republican colleagues who voted on infrastructure legislation by threatening their committee assignments. .

Calls for retaliation come from a small number of conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and are unlikely to result in lawmakers actually being kicked out of committees, but the fact that there is even serious discussion at the respect is causing heartburn.

Senate Republicans warn that taking such a drastic step against other Republicans over a bona fide political disagreement would be foolish and a danger to the party’s long-term health.

“That is absolutely insane,” the senator said. Mitt romneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney In a dramatic change, the director of national intelligence does not rule out the ‘extraterrestrial’ origins of UFOs The Republican Party seeks to expand the candidate tracking program of the state legislature before the midterm elections National Republicans surprised by Sununu’s snub MORE (R-Utah) said about talks in the House of Representatives to strip Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill of their seats on the committee.

“The infrastructure bill was bipartisan. It was voted for by Mitch McConnell, ”he said, arguing that now it will be more difficult for Democratic leaders to persuade centrists like the senator. Joe manchinJoe ManchinSchumer, McConnell Discuss Debt Ceiling On The Money – Biden Warns Oil Industry Trump Gives McConnell An Insult-Filled Ultimatum On Biden’s Agenda MORE (DW.Va.) to vote for a larger climate and social spending bill because funding for popular hard infrastructure priorities moved separately.

“The Republicans were smart to support it,” insisted Romney, who was one of 19 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the infrastructure legislation.

Its. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – House Democrats expect a big vote on the Biden measure Democrats struggle to find a closure strategy The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – Biden praises the law of infrastructure, talk to Xi from China MORE (Alabama), the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, called the threat of retaliation against House Republicans “draconian.”

Shelby, who has served in Congress since 1979, opposed the infrastructure bill and joined most of his Republican colleagues in voting against the legislation in August.

But he said he had never heard of stripping a legislator of a committee assignment because of how he cast a vote on a particular law.

Another Senate Republican who voted in favor of the infrastructure bill said that to speak of imposing punishment on House colleagues who voted for the bill was “ridiculous.”

“That’s totally, absolutely ridiculous, and McCarthy should crush that,” the legislator said. “They don’t have caucus discipline.”

McCarthy has referred a motion by Representative Dan Bishop (RN.C.), a member of the House Freedom Committee, to oust Katko as the highest ranking Republican on the Homeland Security panel to the Steering Committee of the Republican Party of The House of Representatives.

The Steering Committee may forward the motion to the full 213-member House Republican Conference for a vote or ignore it.

Katko told The Hill Wednesday afternoon that she did not know what would happen to the motion.

Senate minority whip John thuneJohn Randolph ThuneOvernight Defense & National Security – Presented by Boeing – Pentagon promises more transparency in airstrikes Schumer, McConnell on debt ceiling Senate Republican Party threatens to block defense bill MORE (RS.D.), who also voted against the infrastructure bill, cautioned that retaliating against fellow Republicans who vote for things they believe are in the best interests of their constituents is a foolish move.

“That’s not a smart thing to do,” he said. “Retaliatory actions like that, I think, are counterproductive in the long run.

“We have that situation here from time to time where someone votes for something and it is disappointing for us, but the most important vote is always the next, not the last,” he added.

Senate Republican leaders were greatly disappointed in 2017, when moderates Sens. Lisa murkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – House Democrats expect a big vote on Biden’s measure Congress moves toward end-of-year crash The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Biden Appoints Biden Official Obama as head of the FDA just before the deadline MORE (R-Alaska), Susan collinsSusan Margaret Collins The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – Biden Praises Infrastructure Law, Speaks to China’s Xi The Hill 12:30 AM Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump officials face legal consequences for defy subpoenas Democrats deploy divisive duchess to push for paid leave MORE (R-Maine) and John McCainMSNBC’s John Sidney McCain Nicolle Wallace and Chris Christie Fight for Fox News Trump’s attacks on McConnell, seen as the prelude to 2024, the White House made an offer to Trump to attend the fundraiser for the Republican Senate candidate for Arizona MORE (R-Ariz.) He voted with Democrats to defeat legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was one of the Republicans’ top priorities.

But there was no talk at all in the wake of that vote to punish those lawmakers.

And the show of respect paid off a few months later, when all three Republicans voted to narrowly pass Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 51-49.

Collins also helped give Trump a major victory when he cast a key vote to confirm his second Supreme Court nominee. Brett kavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughJoy Reid Compares Kyle Rittenhouse’s ‘White Tears’ to Judge Kavanaugh Murkowski Announces Re-election Bid, Preparing Battle with Trump, Supreme Court Fights Limits on Digital Ads, Freedom of Speech MORE, after a spiteful confirmation process during which she was subjected to strong pressure to vote “no”.

Senate Republicans say bitter infighting among House Republicans raises serious concerns about their future ability to govern if they regain control of the lower house in the 2022 midterm elections, which political hurdles now say. which is a likely prospect.

Thune said the 13 Republicans facing punishment “will be with the Republican conference there on most issues and if you start isolating and highlighting individual votes, it will not be conducive to having a long-term united majority on issues on the issues. that I really need. “

Its. Rob portmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSchumer, McConnell Speak Out On Debt Ceiling Trump Gives McConnell An Insult-Filled Ultimatum On Biden’s Agenda The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By ExxonMobil – Biden Praises Infrastructure Act, Speaks With Xi From China MORE (R-Ohio), who led the group of downtown Republicans who negotiated the bipartisan infrastructure bill and who attended a signing ceremony at the White House on Monday, said the bill would have been very different if not it would have had Republican participation.

“I dare not get involved in House politics, but I think it’s very bad direction if they go down that road,” he said of the possibility that Republican lawmakers will lose committee assignments or be punished in other ways for supporting more. funds for roads. , bridges, airports, public transportation and expanded broadband Internet access.

“People voted for the legislation because it was in the interests of their constituents. It is very popular at home. If you take that approach of punishing people for voting for what is in the interests of the people they represent, you might end up with real problems, ”he said.

Senate Republicans view the backlash against colleagues who voted for the infrastructure bill as driven primarily by Trump, who issued a invective statement Wednesday criticizing Republican lawmakers for giving President BidenJoe Biden Florida Republicans Vote To Limit Vaccine Mandates Bill Honoring 13 Service Members Killed In Afghanistan Heads To Biden’s Desk Overnight Defense And Homeland Security – Presented By Boeing – Pentagon Promises More Transparency In air strikes MORE an important political achievement.

“Mitch McConnell couldn’t stop the first bill, so 19 senators, including himself, joined in. That’s what it does: if you can’t beat them, join them, ”Trump enraged in his statement.

But McConnell says he has no regrets supporting the legislation, which he called a “blessing” for his home state.

He argued that Republicans improved the bill by taking the tax increases proposed by Democrats off the table and not touching the 2017 tax cuts.

“From my point of view Kentucky, it was extremely good for our state. I am proud of my vote, ”he said.

Scott Wong contributed.

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