Renegade House Republicans aren’t sorry Congress has ground to a halt amid the Israeli war. Kevin McCarthy has words for them

In the meantime, Israel may largely have to mount its counter offensive without full U.S. support

By Joseph Simonson and Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon 

The Republicans who voted to oust former House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) have not expressed remorse for their actions, which have left Congress powerless to help Israel in its war against Hamas.

None of the eight Republican members of Congress who voted with Democrats last week to vacate the speakership responded to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment about whether they regret grinding the House of Representatives to a halt.

The ringleader of the effort, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) dodged questions in an interview on Sunday morning’s Meet the Press, arguing that Israel has a “qualitative military edge over everyone in the region” and citing Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that the Biden Administration has assured Israel it will get the military aid it needs.

The House of Representatives has never voted to oust a speaker, leaving the body in uncharted territory. It is unclear whether a member, in particular Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.), has the power to preside over the House for matters other than electing a permanent speaker.

McCarthy, however, is clear on what he would be doing were he still leading the House. In an interview with the Free Beacon, McCarthy said it’s important that Congress speak with one voice right now—something it cannot do—and ensure Israel gets the military aid and munitions it needs. “We’d do not just a resolution, but if there are resources needed, make sure anything is free flowing,” McCarthy said.

The former speaker also defended his successful effort to keep the government open, arguing that the crisis in Congress would be compounded had the government shut down. “You can’t do anything. And not only stalled, it makes Republicans look weak. Remember, I turned something around in one day and kept government open. Think for one moment if government was closed today. You’ve got 30,000 American troops in the Middle East not knowing if they’re going to get paid,” he said.

Sources close to the House Republican Conference expressed concerns that even simple motions to bring legislation to the floor or condemn the attacks could result in legal challenges or be reversed with a simple majority vote.

Lawmakers are even struggling to determine how to brief lawmakers on the ongoing Hamas assault on Israel, which began early Saturday and has left at least 700 Israelis dead, and thousands more injured. The bloodshed in Israel is the worst since the Jewish state’s founding 75 years ago. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday declared that the nation is at war with Hamas, an Iran-backed Islamic terrorist group that operates out of Gaza. There is no evidence the conflict will subside anytime soon, as the Israeli military mobilizes in the face of ongoing Hamas attacks.

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For the time being, Israel may largely have to mount its counter offensive without full U.S. support. McCarthy told Fox News on Saturday that “there is nothing the House can do until they elect a speaker, and I don’t know if that happens quickly.”

Democrats, who went along with Gaetz’s scheme to sow chaos in Congress, are in an awkward position as well. Appearing on CNN Sunday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said “there will likely be a need for some additional appropriations” to help Israel bolster its defense system. Jeffries, who instructed House Democrats to vote to remove McCarthy, was not asked about his role in preventing Congress from taking action.

Gaetz, who is said to be considering a run for governor in 2026, could see his electoral prospects plummet as Congress stalls on sending aid to Israel. Florida’s Jewish population is the third highest in the country and a critical voting bloc in both Republican primaries and general elections. Gaetz said Saturday he is “closely monitoring the terrorist attack by Hamas.”

Rep. Mike Lawler (R., N.Y.), whose district includes a large Jewish population, slammed Gaetz and his allies on Sunday for their “idiotic” plot and called on the House to “immediately reinstate McCarthy and stop screwing around.”

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