This week marks exactly one month since Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House — after 15 rounds of voting, that is. In that month, McCarthy has tried to govern, holding the majority, and it has been a display of complete incompetence and total disrespect for Congress as an institution. Look no further than the people who he tapped to serve on key House committees.
During the first week of Congress, McCarthy assigned people like his “boss” Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar — both of whom are 2020 election deniers and continue rejecting basic facts — to the Homeland Security Committee. People like Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, election deniers all, who spew conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden and other Biden administration officials, were assigned to the Oversight Committee. Oversight is the Committee normally tasked with leading investigations and holding people accountable. The chance for that continuing seems somewhere between unlikely and Hell freezing over. Before George Santos recused himself from serving on committees this week, Kevin McCarthy gave him assignments on the Small Business and Science Committee. Science? We do know he likes inventing things…
At a time when democracy is more fragile than ever before, these elected officials should not be given more power. Instead, McCarthy, showing no respect for democracy or the functioning of Congress, gave these and other election-denying Republicans the ability to turn the House into the laughingstock of the world.
As Committees have started to gavel into session this week, Republicans are doing exactly what they promised to the American people - at least partially. They are not focused on lowering inflation and helping American workers. Instead, Republicans, like Andy Biggs of Arizona, have already filed impeachment articles against Biden administration officials. Marjorie Taylor Greene spent her first week on the committee asking a witness about Critical Race Theory being taught to children — despite Critical Race Theory being taught only in law schools. As our nation grieves one mass shooting after another, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Texas wore an AR-15 pin during an Oversight Committee hearing, only giving permission for more violence instead of working to reduce it. Today, every Republican voted to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, an act of pure political vengeance that comes at a time when they fail to condemn violence the comes from their own party.
While extreme, election-denying elected Republicans are serving on committees and acting just in the way they told us. However, we should be comforted by the fact that Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries has done a masterful job of ensuring that Democrats can effectively push back against the Republican chaos. For instance, the ranking and vice-ranking members on the House Oversight are Representatives Jamie Raskin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What’s more: the first Gen Z member of Congress, Maxwell Frost, as well as former lead prosecutor for the House during Donald Trump’s first impeachment, Dan Goldman, will both be serving on the Oversight Committee. Other assignments include appointing former House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett to serve as Ranking Member of the Weaponization of Government subcommittee, placing her head-to-head with Chair Jim Jordan.
With young and diverse Democrats serving on Committees, it is apparent that Hakeem Jeffries knows the importance of new voices being given a chance to shine. Because of that, Republicans should be prepared. These Democrats, many of whom are serving their first term in Congress, will work diligently to push their respective committees to focus on the issues that matter to Americans. More important, they will not stay silent in the face of Republicans hijacking committee hearings and democracy. Put simply, Democrats will not shy away from calling out Republicans every step along the way.
Nor should they.
During committee sessions, Democrats must be relentless in calling out Republican lies and conduct. They must not be afraid of claiming their time and using it to promote facts and point out Republican extremism.
Beyond what happens during committee, Democrats must go on as many media outlets and social media platforms as possible and underscore that Republicans are using their power to launch baseless investigations and conduct hearings on issues that very few Americans support. That could include social media postings on things as simple as absurd Republican statements during hearings on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. It could also include posting content that provides quick and digestible updates on what Republicans say and do during committee sessions. Ultimately, Democrats must leverage their digital tools and make it clear to all generations that Republicans simply do not care about making lives better.
Concurrently, it is also imperative for every American to pay attention to what’s happening on these committees and view it as yet another reminder of why elections are so important. While it is difficult to watch what Republicans are doing with their power in the House, their control was made possible because voters allowed it to happen. Voters, when given a choice between a Republican and Democrat, ultimately cast their ballot for a Republican or would have voted for the Democrat but didn’t cast their ballot.
Voters who voted Republican must recognize that what candidates sold them in 2022 simply is not what they’re delivering. Instead of lowering inflation, Republicans are seeking to impose a 30% national sales tax. Instead of taking up bills to lower costs and expand healthcare, and address climate change, Republicans are trying to impeach Democrats. This is the reality that all of us live in — and more than ever before, voters must not only realize it but act to change it.
While 2024 may be more than a year away, we must all stay vigilant. We must all continue having conversations and using our voices to point out what Republicans are doing. We must all continue urging those around us to register to vote before it’s too late. Above all else, we must understand the power we have as voters and commit to voting for candidates who will actually fight to improve our lives.
Unfortunately, there are not many Republicans left who are willing to do that. If and until that changes, the only option is pushing and voting for the party that walks the walk for the American people once in office: the Democrats.