WASHINGTON — Senators in both parties are warning their leaderless colleagues in the House that electing a more right-leaning speaker wouldn’t be enough to muscle conservative legislation through a Senate and a White House run by liberal Democrats.
The reality check from across the Capitol could weigh on GOP lawmakers as they grapple with who should replace Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as speaker. A band of far-right rebels led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., removed him from the position Tuesday, freezing the chamber. The eight Republicans who voted to boot McCarthy complained that he relied on Democrats to keep the government open and failed to advance their conservative policy priorities.
But any new Republican speaker will inherit the divided government that befell the last one, as fears grow about how to prevent a shutdown on Nov. 17, approve new aid to Ukraine and advance other must-pass bills to keep agencies functioning.
McCarthy spent his nine months as speaker dancing on a knife edge of functionality and paralysis, constantly struggling to balance the demands of his aggressive right flank and the necessity of dealing with a Senate and a White House run by Democrats.