Political Tensions Rise: Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise Caught in a Deepening Rift

If you watched it take 15 votes and a lot of concessions for Kevin McCarthy to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, you would be forgiven for thinking that his election was built on a house of cards rather than, say, a throne of skulls. What you may not expect, however, is that McCarthy’s second-in-command would be receiving the most fire from McCarthy’s allies.

The Punchbowl’s Daily Newsletter offers an intriguing, yet troubling, look at the leadership within the razor-thin Republican Majority.

McCarthy’s allies blame Scalise for the drama over the past few days. They claim that Scalise mishandled the gun rights resolution that was passed by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga). The uprising was a result of this.

Scalise and the leadership have been working to gain votes for Clyde’s proposal, which would prevent ATF from regulating gun braces. It was a difficult vote for the leadership as some GOP moderates did not want to support this proposal.

This was made worse when Clyde and other conservatives voted against the Fiscal Responsibility Act during the Debt Limit Debate. A procedural motion needed Democratic votes. Conservative bills to overturn the rule would have required moderate Republicans to vote against them.

Wait a minute. There’s more.

Scalise explains the incident:

There was a lot of anger. The people were angry that their speaker had misled them in the negotiations for the vote on the speaker. Despite the promises made, they felt he had broken his word. This is what they said.

“I didn’t know what the promises were. I know that McCarty spoke with some of the people and when they left they were still angry at him publicly for what they believed to be a broken promise. This is something that must be addressed. ”

The situation is noteworthy on many levels. Scalise has denied any involvement in the current crises.

The Louisiana Republican put this in writing. It shows just how divided the top House Republicans are.

McCarthy is the person that the people selected. McCarthy represents what the people could have done. Scalise is what the people might have chosen. McCarthy knows this because Scalise was mentioned as an alternative. McCarthy may distance himself from Scalise if he feels he poses a threat to his Speakership.

Garrett Graves has also been involved with this case. Graves was selected by McCarthy to lead the debt ceiling talks. Scalise has been pushed aside to allow someone from his state to assume the role. This is strange.

Graves was almost running for Governor in Louisiana but decided to endorse Stephen Waguespack. Waguespack’s supporters then launched an idiotic attack on Jeff Landry, the frontrunner. Graves endorsed the PAC candidate. They claimed Landry’s role as Attorney General is the reason Louisiana has a high crime rate.

Other Louisiana Congressmen are endorsing Landry. Graves is going against them. Graves is also ingratiating himself with McCarthy.

There is drama afoot. But if it’s as serious as Punchbowl is making it seem, the question becomes “Who will be the last man standing?”