Republican politicians are making morbid warnings about the future of the party’s narrow majority in the House in the wake of a mass exodus of their elected officials.
The dwindling GOP caucus is thanks in part to several major retirement announcements, including those of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, former Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, and Representative Bill Johnson, as well as the expulsion of serial fabulist George Santos last week. Those vacancies set the House balance at 219–213 for the time being, meaning that Republicans need a practically united caucus—a rarity—to pass their conservative agenda.
“I can assure you Republican voters didn’t give us the majority to crash the ship,” wrote Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene on X, blaming the Freedom Caucus for inducing the legislative nightmare that ousted McCarthy and stoking division.
“Hopefully no one dies,” she added.
So far, 30 members of the House and seven senators have announced they will not be seeking reelection in 2024, though some seem to be expediting their exit. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Wednesday, McCarthy revealed he wouldn’t even wait until the end of his term to ditch Capitol Hill, opting instead to vacate his seat by the end of the month.
But the retreat might be about more than just a legislative migraine. In recent years, Republican officials have become increasingly incensed by a lack of action by their party on Capitol Hill, voicing anxieties about returning to the campaign trail empty-handed.
“One thing. I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing. One. That I can go campaign on and say we did,” lamented Texas Representative Chip Roy during a speech on the House floor last month, coming down hard on former President Donald Trump for failing to act on border security while wielding a Republican majority in the White House and both chambers of Congress.
“Anybody sitting in the complex, if you want to come down to the floor and come explain to me one material, meaningful, significant thing the Republican majority has done besides well, ‘I guess it’s not as bad as the Democrats,’” Roy added.