tags: , , , Blog

The Grand Old Party … Of Chaos And Dysfunction

Share This:

Two words that summarize the current state of the Republican Party: chaos and dysfunction. 

It’s been impossible to ignore the ensuing headlines. In the U.S. House, Republicans spent weeks carrying out numerous failed speaker votes before moving to hold funding for our allies hostage. In the U.S Senate, Senator Tommy Tuberville has similarly been holding hostage hundreds of crucial military posts, at risk to our national security and military personnel. On immigration, both chambers have united to present cruel, extreme and unworkable immigration plans that only make a dysfunctional immigration system worse.

First, the U.S. House. Republicans paralyzed the nation’s legislative branch for weeks after ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy and holding a series of failed, embarrassing floor votes for candidates that went from bad to worse.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, who once reportedly referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage” and apologized after acknowledging that he addressed a white supremacist group in 2002 (oops?), failed to garner enough floor votes after winning a conference vote earlier. The runner-up from the conference ballot, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, then threw his hat in the ring and boasts a record even more extreme than Mr. David Duke Without The Baggage, including using his committee chairmanship to amplify white nationalist “replacement” theory and playing a prominent role in the GOP efforts to overturn the rightful results of the 2020 election. Jordan would subsequently lose not one, not two, but three floor votes for speaker, continuing to leave the nation without a fully-functioning legislative branch.

“Without a doubt, the Republican ousting of Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is a banner of dysfunction,” Yale University professor Joanne Freeman summarized at Politico. Counting from McCarthy’s ouster, three weeks would pass before House Republicans unanimously selected Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson as their new Speaker, managing to find someone worse than McCarthy, Scalise and Jordan on just about everything. “Johnson has gone farther than most of his Republican colleagues in elevating alarmist and dangerous rhetoric,” America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas noted.

Because this chaos and dysfunction is emblematic of today’s GOP, you’ll find it in the U.S. Senate too. For months now, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville has undermined the nation’s security by blocking more than 350 U.S. military posts from confirmation, many of them high-ranking positions. The Tuberville blockade has been going on for about nine months but it only just now publicly angered his fellow Republicans, after a general “shouldering the responsibilities of two related jobs” suffered a major heart attack, MSNBC reported

“A Politico report added that while Pentagon officials have stopped short of blaming Tuberville for Smith’s medical emergency, they conceded that ‘the stress of doing two extremely demanding jobs at once for months certainly did not help his health,’” the report said.

A functioning party would have ended these political maneuvers immediately. It would not have launched the blockade in the first place. But despite this serious medical emergency involving a top military official, Tuberville has continued to stand firm in refusing to lift the holds. “We are in a tough time right now because our military is struggling to actually put a group together,” he subsequently said. Gee, I wonder why, Tommy? 

This chaos and dysfunction are also emblematic of what Republicans are also doing on immigration, blocking workable fixes to our long-outdated immigration system. Much like Tuberville’s actions – or rather, inaction – in the Senate, the immigration proposals will also result in harm, just now on millions of individuals and families waiting on solutions. 

Currently, Senate Republicans are floating a cruel, extreme and unworkable immigration proposal as a condition of keeping our government running and supporting our allies in Ukraine. Misleadingly presented by Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton and James Lankfords as “solutions” to address the southern border, the proposal is instead a deeply unserious proposal that guts asylum and re-ups some of the worst from H.R. 2, better known as the Child Detention Act. 

But rather than presenting any remotely workable solutions to address our long-broken immigration system, the proposal seeks to eviscerate legal pathways that are working to alleviate border pressures. Much like the GOP itself, the proposed plan seeks to create chaos and dysfunction at the southern border. Recall that when the Biden administration announced an end date to the ineffective Title 42 policy, Republicans were practically gleeful at the thought of potential unrest at the border. Thankfully, that never panned out

This new GOP proposal also seeks to create dysfunction at the border, leading Senate Democrats pointed out. Republicans have already been trying to force chaos at the border, by suing to end the parole program that allows migrants to avoid making dangerous journeys north and resulted in lower numbers of arrivals at the border following implementation. This latest plan from Senate Republicans “isn’t a serious effort to secure the border — it would make things worse, not better,” said Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. 

“We need a wholesale modernization of our immigration system,” Cárdenas said in an America’s Voice statement this week. But that process must happen “via regular order and involve a full-scale set of policy reforms, not just deterrence-only efforts being shoehorned into a short-term funding debate by a Republican Party that keeps proving itself unwilling or incapable partners in the basic functioning of government and our democracy.”