Tag: republicans
Mike Johnson

'Insecure' House Speaker Faces Raging Divisions In GOP Congress

After former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted as speaker, thanks in part to a "motion to vacate" from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the House of Representatives' small Republican majority went through weeks of chaos before confirming Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) for the position.

Johnson, after his confirmation, promised to end the chaos and run the House like a "well-oiled machine." But the chaos remains as his caucus deals with everything from GOP resignations to the possibility of a partial government shutdown.

Bloomberg News reporters Steven T. Dennis and Billy House examine Johnson's problems in an article published on February 23.

According to the journalists, "multiple senior House Republicans" who were interviewed on condition of anonymity "now portray Johnson as an insecure leader who faces a steep learning curve."

"Those GOP lawmakers complain Johnson keeps counsel mostly with an insular circle of his own staffers on even the most challenging matters — and that some senior colleagues are treated as objects of suspicion rather than allies," Dennis and House explain. "They cite two back-to-back humiliating defeats in one early February evening, when the House not only rejected an Israel-only war aid package Johnson put up for a vote, but also, a marquee Republican impeachment resolution against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas…. Johnson rallied his party the following week to impeach Mayorkas on a second try, prevailing by a single vote after Republican Steve Scalise returned from cancer treatment."

Johnson, according to Dennis and House, is coping with "a Republican majority at war with itself." And conservative Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is warning that House Republicans will suffer politically if they drop the ball with military aid to Ukraine.

"If (Vladimir) Putin wins," the reporters quote Tillis as saying, "Republicans will lose."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Donald Trump

Trump Contradictions Exposed In IVF Debate As Biden Trolls Republicans

Republicans are scrambling for a response to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling upending access to in vitro fertilization treatments in the state, and one very important person has gone silent: Donald Trump.

On Thursday, NBC News' Jonathan Allen reported that a Trump campaign spokesperson failed to reply to an inquiry about when Trump might weigh in. It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that Trump finally addressed the matter, saying that he would “strongly support the availability of IVF.” But by then, the Biden campaign and Democrats had pounced.

The right-wing ruling in a red state has put Republicans in a bind, forcing them to choose between their evangelical voters and the well-heeled donors who are increasingly turned off by the Republican Party's extremism. In Pew Research Center polling from last year, nearly 6 in 10 upper-income Americans said they or someone they know have used fertility treatments, such as IVF.

Even Trump's campaign surrogates dodged when asked whether embryos are children. “Well, I haven’t studied the issue,” Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said after casting his vote in the state's Republican primary.

In Trump's absence, however, the Biden campaign stepped in to fill the void. "Make no mistake: this is because Donald Trump overturned Roe v. Wade," President Biden tweeted Thursday, over a graphic of an Associated Press headline about an Alabama hospital pausing IVF treatments. The graphic included a picture of Trump alongside a quote of him taking credit for destroying the country's abortion rights: "I'm the one that got rid of Roe v. Wade."

But that wasn't Biden's only tweet about IVF on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Biden also connected the end of Roe to the IVF ruling, writing, "The Vice President and I won’t stop until we restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law for all women in every state."

The Biden-Harris campaign's rapid-response account tweeted out several damning tweets related to Trump's attack on reproductive freedom—including on IVF treatments—while he was president. One tweet included Trump's tortured 2019 announcement of nominating anti-IVF, anti-surrogacy judge Sarah Pitlyk to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

"She was confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench and Trump even considered her for the Supreme Court," stated the Biden-Harris HQ account.

Another Trump appointee, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, refused to rule out criminalizing IVF treatments. During her 2020 confirmation, she said this:

In case there was any confusion about Trump's role in inserting the federal government into America's bedrooms, the Biden campaign wants to clear it up.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Rep. Michelle Steel

GOP Rep. Steel Got Pregnant With IVF -- Then Sponsored A Bill To Ban It

It's been a really rough week for Republicans who hate reproductive rights, and Republican Rep. Michelle Steel of California is no exception.

"As someone who struggled to get pregnant, I believe all life is a gift. IVF allowed me, as it has so many others, to start my family," she tweeted Thursday. "I believe there is nothing more pro-life than helping families have children, and I do not support federal restrictions on IVF."

Great! Just one teeny tiny little problem with that, as Inside Elections editor Jacob Rubashkin noted: Steel actually does support federal restrictions. Steel is one of the co-sponsors of the Life at Conception Act, a House bill that "declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being."

And as Rubashkin points out, there is no carveout in the bill for in vitro fertilization. Oops!

Ever since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that "unborn children"—including frozen embryos created for IVF—"are children," and multiple hospitals and clinics have announced they are pausing IVF treatment because of it, Republicans like Steel have been scrambling to figure out how to respond.

It's a real problem for the GOP, and it's only going to get worse. On the one hand, they've spent years pushing legislation, like the bill Steel cosponsored, to declare that life begins at conception, every sperm is sacred, and an embryo is the exact same thing—and entitled to the exact same legal rights—as a live human being with a name and a Social Security number.

On the other hand, the ruling out of Alabama is absolutely batshit insane, and even Republicans know it, which is why they're now trying to pretend this isn't the direct consequence of their actions and rhetoric to convince everyone—or at least conservatives in the judiciary—that, as the Republican-controlled Alabama Supreme Court held, "unborn children are children."

The problem is that IVF is popular because, as Steel notes, it has helped so many people to be able to start their families. And starting families is supposed to be a Republican value.

But darn the luck, it's a slippery slope from "unborn children are children" to "frozen embryos are the exact same thing as children" to double oops, sorry, you can't use IVF to start your families anymore. As Republicans are now learning the hard way.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Senate GOP Memo: Candidates Must 'Clearly' Reject Alabama IVF Ruling

Senate GOP Memo: Candidates Must 'Clearly' Reject Alabama IVF Ruling

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — the main campaign arm for GOP candidates for the US Senate — is urging Republicans to distance themselves from the Alabama Supreme Court's recent controversial ruling that frozen embryos are equivalent to human children.

Since the ruling, three in-vitro fertilization (IVF) providers in Alabama have ceased fertility treatments for people hoping to become pregnant in the Yellowhammer State in order to avoid prosecution. In response to the ruling, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has had to publicly state that his office will not prosecute people who are either receiving or providing IVF treatments.

CNN congressional correspondent Lauren Fox tweeted the memo on Friday, which stated that the Alabama ruling was being exploited as "fodder for Democrats hoping to manipulate the abortion issue for electoral gain," and emphasized that there are "zero Republican Senate candidates who support efforts to restrict fertility treatments."

"NRSC encourages Republican senate candidates to clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF," the memo read, citing research by Kellyanne Conway that found 85 percent of respondents — including 86% of women — support "increasing access to fertility-related procedures and services."

"When responding to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, it is imperative that our candidates align with the public's overwhelming support for IVF and fertility treatments," the memo continued.

The Alabama decision has also proven divisive for Republican presidential candidates. Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who is hoping for a strong showing in her home state of South Carolina tomorrow, agreed with the ruling and stated that frozen embryos were indeed "babies." However, former President Donald Trump took a different stance, and called on the Alabama legislature to "act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF."

"Like the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, including the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby," Trump wrote on his Truth Social account.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.