The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Wheels Begin to Come Off in the House

The Republican House has never been particularly functional, but Ryan has managed to hold it together admirably — until now. The Freedom Caucus took down the farm bill last week to pressure for a vote on a hawkish immigration bill, while a discharge petition is gaining ground with the support of Republican moderates who want a DACA vote. The discharge petition, if it were to succeed, would remind me a little of the rule on the crime bill going down in the Democratic House in the summer of 1994: a majority on its last legs losing control of the floor.

One strange aspect of our politics lately has been how you can look at the polling — the generic ballot’s tightening, Trump’s numbers improving, the right track going up — and conclude that the worm has turned and Republicans may not be heading for a wipe-out in the fall. At the same time, every other indication — special-election results, retirements, Ryan announcing he’s not running for reelection — says, indeed, that a wipe-out is coming.

It may be that, whether or not Republicans lose the House in November, they are almost certainly going to lose their governing majority, and the dysfunction that we’ve seen over the last week is the best case going forward.


Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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