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GOP leaders threaten to block judges, defund NPR, boost misinfo if they regain Congress

Republican lawmakers are plotting what they’ll do if they win back the House and the Senate next year.

By Josh Israel - November 22, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

The 2022 midterm elections are nearly a year away, but GOP leaders are already talking up what they plan to do should they win back majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

The Republicans’ plan, should they win, seems to consist of three things: obstructing President Joe Biden’s agenda, punishing their enemies, and consolidating power.

Since Biden was sworn into office in January, Republicans have done everything possible to block Democrats from enacting the agenda Americans voted for in Nov. 2020.

In the House, the GOP has wasted hours by forcing lengthy roll-call votes on procedural motions to adjourn in the middle of the day. In the Senate, Republicans have filibustered many of the Biden’s top legislative priorities, stalled nominees, and even forced staffers to read an entire bill aloud for hours on end just to delay its enactment.

But should Republicans gain five seats in the House or one seat in the Senate, they will be able to wield even more power to further their agenda.

When Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was Senate Majority Leader, he prevented former President Barack Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy for nearly all of 2016. He then spent 2019 and 2020 blocking hundreds of progressive bills from even getting a vote.

Now, McConnell is signaling that if he gets the job back, Biden should expect more of the same.

In June, McConnell warned that if a Supreme Court seat opens up in 2024 and he has a majority, he will once again prevent a Democratic president from filling it. And he recently suggested he would do nothing to avoid a catastrophic debt default, as punishment for Democrats enacting Biden’s jobs bills.

“I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” McConnell said.

House Republican leaders have indicated they would enact a similar agenda of retribution if they regain control of Congress. At the center of their plans is Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who hopes to strip Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of her Speaker of the House title.

Recently, McCarthy has fought efforts to strip Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) of their committee assignments over their inappropriate conduct. Greene has repeatedly made racist, antisemitic, and Islamophobic comments. She has also refused to wear a mask on the House floor despite being unvaccinated.

Last week, House Democrats voted to censure Gosar after he tweeted an animated video showing him attacking Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Just two Republican House members joined with Democrats to censure Gosar: Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

McCarthy pledged to restore both Greene’s and Gosar’s committee posts if Republicans win back the House. “They’ll have committees,” he told reporters last Thursday. “They may have other committee assignments. They may have better committee assignments.”

And in his eight-and-a-half-hour-long filibuster speech last Thursday night and Friday morning, McCarthy warned that he would abolish a temporary rule allowing members to work remotely and cast their votes via proxy.

“I have spent a lot of time thinking about the next Congress,” he said. “If you are all thinking of running again, for those who win, no more proxy voting. You are going to have to show up to work.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has also outlined plans to go after her rivals if she gets the chance. Stefanik has been an outspoken critic of tech companies, accusing them of censoring and “canceling” conservatives by enforcing their terms of service against Trump and others.

Last month, Stefanik tweeted that she would fight to stop social media companies from regulating what content users can post, like misinformation and offensive content. “2022 is pivotal – we need to take back the House so that we can END big tech censorship!” she wrote.

Stefanik has also pushed to defund National Public Radio for alleged political bias and has called for investigations and a shutdown of the entire NPR network.

“What #NY21 listeners always knew – @ncpr is a taxpayer-funded front for local Socialist Democrats,” she claimed, referring to North Country Public Radio in northern New York. “The entire @ncpr operation must be audited. When Republicans win the majority in 2022, they will be. DEFUND @NPR.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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