There are 435 Members in the House of Representatives.
The party lineup is now 237 Republicans, 193 Democrats, and five vacancies.
Which might lead anybody to conclude that the Republicans are in charge of the House; and, led by Kentucky's Mitch (“Triple Chin”) McConnell, they control the Senate as well; and there is a man who lives in the White House (when he’s not in Florida at Mar-A-Lago) who claims to be a Republican, but who highjacked the GOP last year on a platform of stoking fear of immigrants and capitalizing on white working-class voters’ growing disillusionment with the ability of elected representatives to meet their social and economic needs.
The House Freedom Caucus, led by Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina, boasts some three dozen members. The Freedom Caucus consists of hyper-conservative Tea Party Republicans. TP Republicans don’t believe that we should have a federal government unless they can call all the shots. It was the Freedom Caucus which led former Speaker John Boehner to resign from Congress in 2015. Boehner is much happier now back in his suburban Cincinnati home, where he enjoys bourbon, cigarettes, and golf.
Yesterday, there was high drama all along Pennsylvania Avenue in the Nation’s Capital. The GOP, having whined for seven years about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), proposed TrumpRyanCare, officially known as the American Health Care Act, to “Repeal and Replace” the ACA.
The Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, had vowed to "Repeal and Replace” the ACA on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the ACA.
But the Freedom Caucus didn’t like TrumpRyanCare because TrumpRyanCare was too generous to poor people, so Donald Trump, supposedly the master dealmaker, brought out his bag of tricks and gave the Freedom Caucus all kinds of goodies they insisted on, assuming that he’d made the Deal of a Lifetime.
Guess what? The Freedom Caucus wanted more concessions, and more, and more, so Trump said Take It Or Leave It, assuming that the House would give him his First Legislative Victory.
Now that Repeal and Replace is dead, what’s next?
First things first: the GOP is being dissolved.
Paul Ryan’s faction of the Republican Party is now officiously known as The Grand Operating Presumption. Its platform is limited government and few taxes, with women having no reproductive rights.
The Freedom Caucus is no longer part of the Republican Party. Its name is the Freedom From Friggin' Government Party. Mark Meadows is its leader.
The “moderate" wing of the Republican Party, led by Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan, has kept the name of the Republican Party, but the former Republican Party no longer controls Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are very happy, as they are now in control of Congress, having been blamed yesterday by Trump for the failure of TrumpRyanCare. They threw a big party yesterday for their members, attended by associate solitary reporter Maggie Smith. Pelosi and Schumer endorsed Virginia’s junior senator, Tim Kaine, for president, to run against Donald Trump in 2020. Kaine happily accepted, and his campaign received twenty billion dollars in online campaign contributions the minute that Ryan pulled TrumpRyanCare from the House’s calendar.
Happy Days Are Here Again.