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On Wednesday, nearly half of the House Republican conference endorsed a proposal to slash Vice President Kamala Harris’ salary. A day later, when they were supposed to be working on preventing a government shutdown, an even larger number of GOP members went after a different White House official’s income.
The Hill reported:
The House rejected an amendment Thursday that would have decreased White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s salary to $1. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), was defeated 257-165-1, with 54 Republicans joining all Democrats in going against the move. In campaigning for the amendment, Tenney called Jean-Pierre a “liar” and “anti-Semitic.”
In reality, of course, President Joe Biden’s chief spokesperson is neither a “liar” nor “antisemitic,” and as Tenney probably realized, her measure stood no realistic chance of success.
But the vote struck me as notable for a couple of reasons. The first was the number of House Republicans who actually voted for this: 165 GOP members, including Speaker Mike Johnson and the rest of the party’s leadership team, thought it’d be a good idea to vote for a measure that would’ve effectively forced the White House press secretary to work for free.
There are currently 221 House Republicans, which means 76% of the conference — roughly three out of four GOP members — went along with this absurd stunt.
We can all think of foolish proposals fringe figures on Capitol Hill unveil for unfortunate reasons. They don’t generally receive support from 165 members.
The other angle of interest is the frequency with which these stunts happen. Circling back to our earlier coverage, House Republicans, taking advantage of the so-called “Holman Rule,” have gone after Kamala Harris’ salary. And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s salary. And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s salary.
The GOP majority has also targeted Pete Buttigieg’s salary. And Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s salary. And EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s salary. And Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning’s salary. And Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler’s salary.
Jean-Pierre can take comfort in the fact that she’s in good company.
Were any of these measures likely to become law? No. Were Republicans who voted for the measures aware of this? Yes.
But a striking number of GOP lawmakers apparently find the bills entertaining, which means the public should expect to see quite a few more votes like these — at least until there’s a Democratic majority in the chamber again.
Congressional Republicans have earned a reputation for unseriousness. Some are going out of their way to prove their critics right.
This post updates our related earlier coverage.
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