Now faced with doing actual work, no House Republican wants to chair border funding committee

Republican Kevin McCarthy and others in his caucus have carried out campaign stunt after campaign stunt at the southern border, at times happening when the wannabe speaker is desperately attempting to distract from certain scandals that also pertain to him. What a coincidence.

But now Republicans have won slim control of the U.S. House, and they’re apparently realizing that, shit, the usual theatrics they used when in the minority might have to be replaced with some actual work. I mean, what else explains why none of them want to chair the committee tasked with border-related issues?

“The House GOP is still searching for a senior lawmaker willing to head the politically combustible panel that oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies for the next Congress, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions,” Politico reports this week. Typically, you’d think that the top minority member of a committee would be absolutely chomping at the bit following a change in power, but the outlet said that the committee’s senior Republican, Tennessee’s Chuck Fleischmann, has his eyes set elsewhere.

“And Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), who previously led the committee, said: ‘I don’t know who wants it,’” the report continued.

Politico framed the panel as one that has faced “gridlock,” but that’s because it has required working with committee members from the opposing party. It requires figuring out numbers for operations and personnel and studying departments and agencies and actual work that isn’t filming a video amid the shrubbery of the Rio Grande like some nature special. The committee’s current chair, California’s Lucille Roybal-Allard, is a respected lawmaker who has led on meaningful immigration-related legislation.

Shitting on the opposing party’s administration policies, particularly on issues as complex and nuanced as immigration, is easy enough when you’re in the minority. You get to complain and point fingers and do it all on some right-wing program or to racist propaganda outlets. But when you control the committees, it’s a lot harder to try to blame the other party for issues that you railed on as a campaign strategy, because that’s all immigration is to Republicans. A fucking campaign strategy.

“Here the clearest sign on how little Republicans care about the border—other than using it as a political issue to divide America: The House GOP can’t find anyone to chair the committee that writes the budget for the border,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy, who chairs the upper chamber’s version of the committee. Somebody is going to have to head the committee in the end. Politico reports that the next Republican in line, Steven Palazzo, is also out of the running because he won’t be in Congress anymore after losing his primary. After him are Florida’s John Rutherford, who defended the previous administration’s kidnapping at the border, and Iowa’s Ashley Hinson, who once touted federal funding she had earlier labeled as “socialist.”

House Republicans are eager to begin working for the American people in January (did you set your sarcasm meter to 10 already?), focusing on priorities like Hunter Biden’s laptop, dragging Twitter employees in for questioning about the president’s son, and likely seeking an impeachment inquiry against the president himself. Over what, they haven’t exactly figured out yet. The lack of interest in this top committee continues to show they have absolutely no interest in governing. What a waste these next two years are going to be.

Well, that was an awesome way to finish out the 2022 election cycle! Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard revel in Raphael Warnock's runoff victory on this week's episode of The Downballot and take a deep dive into how it all came together. The Davids dig into the turnout shift between the first and second rounds of voting, what the demographic trends in the metro Atlanta area mean for Republicans, and why Democrats can trace their recent success in Georgia back to a race they lost: the famous Jon Ossoff special election in 2017.

We're also joined by one of our very favorite people, Daily Kos Elections alum Matt Booker, who shares his thoughts on the midterms and tells us about his work these days as a pollster. Matt explains some of the key ways in which private polling differs from public data; how the client surveys he was privy to did not foretell a red wave; and the mechanics of how researchers put together focus groups. Matt also reminisces about his time at "DKE University" and how his experience with us prepared him for the broader world of politics.