Freedom Caucus Chairman Threatens Ryan Over Immigration

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

As I've said several times before, I believe the best chance to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program this year is in court.

I keep saying that because the bottom line is Republicans control Congress. Codifying DACA into law requires Trump's signature but before it can reach his desk it has to pass through two chambers of Congress that are controlled by Republicans.

For their part, Republicans in the House of Representatives under Speaker Ryan don't even have plans to vote on a bill unless a bill that has Trump's full support passes through the Senate first. That effectively means the House will not vote on a bill that isn't rubbish because Trump won't support a bill that isn't rubbish.

The Freedom Caucus doesn't want to wait around for Trump or the Senate's approval, however, and they want to pass the cruelest and shittiest possible bill right now.

“I don’t think there’s really any conversations right now that would involve a new speaker,” Meadows said when asked if Ryan’s speakership was in jeopardy. “But there are certainly new conversations that would involve new leadership.”

Meadows continued, “Anytime that the Senate can take up an immigration bill quicker than the House is a day that should defy history. The Senate is notorious for taking naps , not votes … Yet the Senate is here beating us to votes on immigration?” [...]

“I can say that it is a defining moment for this speaker: If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him but it will also have consequences for the rest of the Republican Party,” Meadows said.

While I do see this as further evidence that our Republican-controlled Congress won't codify DACA into law, I also believe Meadows' threat to Ryan is impotent.

Waiting for the Senate to act first has been the story of Paul Ryan's entire speakership. It was the story of John Boehner's speakership. John Boehner faced numerous threats to his position over the years, but he resigned on his own terms and I expect Ryan will do the same.

The reason the House GOP's leaders continuously wait on others to act first is because the House is filled to the rafters with flying monkeys like Mark Meadows. They're ungovernable. They're not a governing party. They're a shit-flinging party.

Paul Ryan is in a position that is very similar to the position John Boehner found himself in in 2015. Boehner abandoned the appropriations process that was already halfway completed because Democrats forced a vote on the display of Confederate flags at federal cemeteries. Boehner and other GOP leaders were afraid; afraid that a ban on Confederate flags may not pass. They were also afraid that a ban on Confederate flags actually would pass.

The reason Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have refused to hold a straight up or down vote on a clean bill to codify DACA is because they know it would pass and they would be held responsible for it passing it just like Boehner would have been held responsible for passing a ban on Confederate flags. It's much easier to simply not vote at all.

Liberals and commentators are quick to judge congressional Democrats for making compromises, but that's what real governing looks like. Governing involves making hard choices that aren't always going to please everyone. Sometimes you have to take a hit to do the right thing even if it's not immediately obvious what the payoff will be.

Conservatives and Republicans don't make hard choices. They only make easy choices. Choosing to codify DACA, even if it's clearly in the best interest of the country, is a hard choice because it could upset their base supporters.

Republicans are more afraid of their own voters -- of losing office and power -- than any other force in the world.

Some people say they wish Democrats were just as afraid of their own supporters, but if you stop making hard choices you eventually end up looking like today's GOP: a frat house that depends on hyper-partisan, gerrymandered districts that reward ideological rigidity.

I'm not saying Democrats couldn't help themselves by fighting harder from time to time, but I never want to look like House Republicans.

  • muselet

    “I don’t think there’s really any conversations right now that would involve a new speaker,” Meadows said when asked if Ryan’s speakership was in jeopardy. “But there are certainly new conversations that would involve new leadership.”

    Nice Speakership you’ve got here. It’d be a shame if something was to … happen to it.

    Mark Meadows is a wannabe thug. Maybe he saw West Side Story too many times growing up.


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