MEMO: Speaker Vote Is a No-Win for House Republicans In Biden Districts

October 11, 2023

TO: Interested Parties

FR: Navin Nayak, President of CAP Action, and Mike Smith, President of House Majority Forward

SUBJECT: Speaker Vote Is a No-Win for House Republicans In Biden Districts

DATE: October 11, 2023

Two weeks ago, House Republicans brought the nation to the brink of a government shutdown over their push to enact radical cuts to programs Americans depend on. In retribution for staving off a default for 48 days, this week, MAGA extremists deposed Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. The historic move sets up a new scramble for House Republicans, who must now elect a new speaker. That vote is a no-win for House Republicans in Biden-won districts. 

These 18 Republicans face a clear choice: put the country first by working in a bipartisan fashion – as the Senate is doing – to prevent a painful government shutdown or continue to march in lockstep with MAGA extremists like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Lauren Boebert. This moment is a true test of their character.

Several MAGA Republicans in the House have already indicated that they will only support a speaker that commits to advancing all 12 of House Republicans’ agency funding bills. These radical spending bills make devastating cuts that would compromise Americans’ safety and pull the rug out from under the middle class by, among other ways, enacting a federal ban on the most common form of abortion, eliminating financial aid for nearly 1.7 million college students, cutting federal funding virtually all public schools benefit from by 80 percent; gutting environmental protection for clean air and water; and defunding federal law enforcement while cutting funding for community violence prevention programs and making it harder to crackdown on gun violence.

Thanks to President Biden and Democratic control of the Senate, these cuts and attacks on Americans’ rights will never become law. And that’s why Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate have worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft funding bills consistent with the contours of the budget deal Congress overwhelmingly approved earlier this year, and which would cut the deficit by $1 trillion.

To date, however, House Republicans in Biden-won districts have refused to stand up to the MAGA extremists that have driven the appropriations process. In fact, 17 of the 18 voted for all four of the party’s first appropriations bills to pass the House (Defense, Homeland Security, State and Foreign Operations, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs), which are filled with extreme policies and a far-right culture war wishlist items. Three of these Republicans – Reps. Juan Ciscomani, Mike Garcia, and David Valadao – serve on the House Appropriations Committee – and have already voted for some of the most extreme cuts, like gutting public education, defunding federal law enforcement, and slashing nutrition assistance for pregnant and postpartum women and children, yet to come before the full House. Finally, all 18 of these Republicans supported a continuing resolution that would have slashed many federal investments by 30 percent, gutting programs working families depend on, like the administration of Social Security, affordable housing, and home heating assistance.

Their lock-step support for these extreme MAGA bills will push the country to the brink of a shutdown that would devastate our economy, withhold pay from servicemembers and their families, and put Americans in danger. 

The writing is clearly on the wall: failing to secure a guarantee that the next Speaker will commit to working in a bipartisan fashion on appropriations bills, is a vote to keep MAGA extremists in charge, and all but assures the government will shut down. With a divided government, the only path to keeping the government open is a bipartisan approach.

These 18 Republicans will face the same test that other Republicans have faced when staring down the extremism of MAGA: put your party first by leaving the extremists in charge or put your country first.

As early as today, we will know which choice they make. Either way, their political fate will be sealed.