During the last Congress, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said that he would try to remove Representative Adam Schiff from his committee assignments, including his position on the House Intelligence Committee. He also told Breitbart last year that he planned to strip Representative Eric Swalwell of his assignment on the committee and Ilhan Omar of her assignment on the House Foreign Affairs Committee
But as Mr McCarthy has failed to secure the necessary votes to become speaker of the House for the second day in a row, Mr Schiff told The Independent that did not worry him.
“You know, that was, I think, another promise by McCarthy to try to gain support from people that were not supporting him anyway. But it shows why I think he has no respect from his own conference or the American people.”
The House of Representatives once again failed to nominate a speaker after a group of insurgent Republicans prevented Mr McCarthy from earning a majority of voters on Wednesday. This came after many of those same Republicans blocked Mr McCarthy on Tuesday. Conversely, save for one vote, every Democrat voted for leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York to be speaker.
“It’s amazing given how extraordinarily diverse a party we are. We are absolutely united in support of Hakeem Jeffries,” Mr Schiff said.
Representative Cori Bush of Missouri, a member of the Squad, told The Independent that despite the differences among the Democratic caucus, they recognise the greater need at the moment.
“So, yeah, we’re standing, we’re standing unified, because we want to make sure that we, you know, we’re protecting the rights of people,” she said. “But we’ve also seen, they’ve been talking about governing for the last two years. And if this is indicative of what their governing will look like, the people, the people need the Democrats back.”
And Democrats don’t seem interested in abating the chaos. Before the House adjourned on Wednesday night, every Democrat except two who didn’t vote opposed a motion to adjourn the House until Thursday. And not even the most moderate Democrats want to help nominate a consensus speaker choice.
“There’s a ton of consensus around Hakeem Jeffries, we got 212 people, every Democrat united,” Representative Abigail Spanberger, a centrist from Virginia, told The Independent. “ If Republicans are thinking about something else, they’re gonna have to mention that but right now, there’s great consensus.”
On Monday, many Democrats showed their pleasure at watching Republicans struggle to achieve a majority, tweeting out pictures of themselves eating popcorn. Representative Kat Cammack of Florida, who gave one of the nominating speeches for Mr McCarthy, ridiculed Democrats and even said they were drinking on the floor.
“But they want us divided. They want us to fight each other,” she said. “That much has been made clear by the popcorn and blankets and alcohol that has come in over there.”
That led to jeers from Democrats and the House clerk gaveling in the chamber. Representative Ted Lieu told The Independent that Democrats were not drinking on the floor but also said that the mayhem was becoming a serious matter.
“We have no members of Congress right now with no House, so we can’t view classified documents, hold committee hearings, conduct oversight,” he said. Members are sworn in after there is a vote for speaker, so that means all of the members are technically representatives-elect and there are no committee assignments.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told The Independent that the impasse posed a serious crisis.
“The longer this goes on, the more precarious the position is for the country,” she said. Mr McCarthy first threatened to remove some Democrats from their committees after Democrats voted to censure and strip Representative Paul Gosar of his committees after he posted an anime video showing a character with his head photoshopped on killing a character with her head photoshopped on.
But Mr Gosar nominated fellow Arizona Representative Andy Biggs to be House Speaker on Tuesday.
“I think it speaks to the fractured relationships,” she said But Ms Ocasio-Cortez also shot down the idea that Democrats could assist Republicans by finding a consensus candidate.
“That would have to be a negotiation,” she said. “I defer to–to Leader Jeffries on that.”