- Rep. Adam Kinzinger said House Republicans will have a “totally non-functional majority” in 2023.
- On Charlie Sykes’ Bulwark podcast, Kinzinger added that McCarthy will struggle with a slim GOP advantage.
- “Kevin will probably be the equivalent of the dog that grabbed the car,” the congressman said.
This week, Republicans clinched a majority in the US House of Representatives after claiming their 218th seat in the 435-member body, toppling the Democratic Party’s lower house more than a week after midterm elections. .
But despite their new House majority, the GOP will have a tiny advantage, with the party currently holding a 219-211 advantage with only a handful of races to call.
And according to GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — a prominent member of the House Jan. 6 committee who is retiring at the end of the current Congress — the party will have a “totally non-functional majority” once the new session convened in January 2023.
Kinzinger, who spoke on Charlie Sykes’ Bulwark podcast about the internal dynamics within the GOP caucus, including the challenges Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California faces mustering the 218 votes required to win the gavel of president on the floor of the House, said Democrats would have to be strategic about the situation if they hoped to block a McCarthy presidency.
“When there’s a majority of 15, 20 people, it takes a lot of people to deny the future president his votes. But when it’s just like three, four, five, you can find it – that’s why I think that Democrats need to be really thinking and thinking about workers like AOC and some of the people who will never vote for a Republican – find a Republican who is nice, try to find a few elected Republicans, and then vote for that person for President,” did he declare.
Kinzinger, who was first elected in 2010 and was once close to McCarthy, slammed his former friend who navigates a sticky situation trying to appease far-right, mainstream conservatives and moderate members of his caucus with a narrow majority — a difficult prospect for any leading Republican lawmaker.
“Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” Kinzinger joked. “I used to be great friends with Kevin McCarthy. He was the biggest disappointment of my life.”
He went on to slam Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who replaced Liz Cheney as House Republican Conference Speaker last year after the Wyoming congresswoman repeatedly spoke out against debunked campaign demands by former President Donald Trump and his role on January 6. 2021.
“Let’s look at Elise Stefanik, who I think is probably thinking, ‘Okay, if Kevin goes down, I can be the next speaker.’ Right away, having no red wave, she’s already tweeting her endorsement of Donald Trump. Like, how pathetic can you be, by the way? How obvious can you be?” he said.
“Here’s the caucus dynamic. Yeah, Andy Biggs [of Arizona] going to run against him, which makes no sense because Kevin will get the majority of the caucus,” he continued. “Let’s say they end up with 220 people. He needs 111. It will be done. The question then is can you get to 218 on the ground, because that’s what you’ll need.”
“That’s where you can extract the power. Why is Marjorie Taylor Greene super supportive of Kevin? She doesn’t like Kevin. He promised her something. I guarantee you. Why is Matt Gaetz against Marjorie Taylor Greene Because Kevin McCarthy probably hasn’t promised her anything yet, and incidentally he wants to be more famous than Marjorie Taylor Greene,” he added.
“Everyone now has the power of a senator”
Kinzinger then called the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus a “Freedom Club” and said that for many of their members, their ideology “has never been principled” but rooted in fame.
The Illinois congressman reiterated that McCarthy — if he becomes president — will have his hands full because members of a 220 or 221-member GOP caucus will effectively have veto power over most legislation .
“It’s a totally non-functional majority because – I’ve been through this – where [Republicans] want to defund Obamacare. “Well, we’re not reimbursing it enough.” Or if we just want to pass the budget, we have to pull Obamacare funding because there are 10 Republicans who are willing to vote ‘no’ on a Conservative bill, so we don’t have enough people to do it. If you’re down to one or two people, each person now has the power of a senator,” he said.
“It will be a non-functional majority, and Kevin will probably be the equivalent of the dog that grabbed the car,” he added.
Kinzinger said former GOP speakers had remarkable legislative skills but still struggled to muster votes on several key issues, even with larger caucuses.
“[John] Boehner was one of the best at closing deals. He fought. Paul Ryan knew politics. He was a moderate and good guy. He struggled,” the congressman said. “Kevin McCarthy is going to be in trouble.”