A Changing of the Guard at the House of Representatives
Author: Greg Valliere
November 17, 2022
THE IMMEDIATE FOCUS will be on Nancy Pelosi, who will announce her intentions later today. We think there’s a good chance she will leave Congress, for several reasons: she previously has indicated that this term will be her last; she has a chilly
relationship with McCarthy; she may want to care for her ailing husband, etc.
BUT THE MAIN REASON FOR PELOSI, 82, to step down is the need to bring new leadership to power. Her House allies are Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, and Majority Whip James Clyburn, 82. It’s time for a younger generation; the leading candidate to replace Pelosi is Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a spry 52.
EVEN IF PELOSI STAYS, her power obviously would be greatly diminished. McCaarthy made it clear yesterday that he will launch several investigations next year, focusing on Hunter Biden’s business deals, Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the origins of Covid, and the porous U.S.-Mexico border. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas faces a potential impeachment for his failure to contain illegal immigration.
THE ONLY WAY FOR McCARTHY to hang on to power next year is to grant the wishes of about 20 hard-line conservatives; they want to pursue impeachment of several other Biden officials, perhaps including Biden himself. There’s no chance these initiatives would be approved in the Senate. .
McCARTHY IS PREPARED to aggressively confront spending issues; his caucus wants a major reduction of aid to Ukraine and the reversal of a huge funding increase to hire hundreds of new IRS tax agents. Biden will veto some of these Republican measures, but the near-certainty of intense partisanship may not appeal to Pelosi, who would be forced to play defense.
AS PAUL RYAN AND JOHN BOEHNER TOLD US a decade ago, the job of House Speaker is maddening because small factions can bottle up legislation. it’s true in the Senate also, but Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer are canny strategists who keep the activists placated. So is Pelosi, who taught a master class in political hardball.
PELOSI HAS BEEN A POLARIZING FIGURE NATIONALLY, but in the House there’s widespread admiration of her steely political skills, even among members who disagree vehemently with her on issues. Her departure — whether today or by Christmas — will represent a changing of the guard, as McCarthy struggles to keep his restive troops in line. If provoked, they could easily oust him.
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