The nation’s legislature is once again paralyzed — this time not by violence but by a tortuous struggle between Republicans over who should lead the House.
WASHINGTON – These are the rifts in the country, between the political parties and within the Republican Party itself, that one time-honored Washington specialty — commemorating and coming together about national trauma — isn’t what it used to be.
Friday’s minute of silence at the Capitol to reflect on the Jan. 6, 2021 attack was expected to draw mostly Democrats.
A few Republicans were expected at the White House for a ceremony at which President Joe Biden awards Presidential Citizens Medals to a dozen state and local officials, poll workers and police officers for their “exemplary service to their country or their fellow citizens” in validating the 2020 election results and in countering it the capitol mob.
It’s all a far cry from September 11, 2001, when lawmakers who had desperately evacuated the Capitol during the terrorist attack gathered there in a moment of silence later in the day and erupted in “God Bless America,” rubbing shoulders with Republicans and Democrat shoulder.
“They stood on the steps of the Capitol, shaken and weeping, their love for the nation and all that it symbolizes for all the world to see,” an Australian newspaper reported in a passage now published the official history of the house.
Today the world sees a different picture, a picture of internal turmoil in American democracy the institution that was overrun by insurgents two years ago.
The nation’s legislature is once again paralyzed — this time not by violence but by a tortuous struggle between Republicans over who should lead them and the House of Representatives itself as speaker.
To be sure, a solution to the immediate crisis may be near However, as the GOP leadership continues negotiations to placate its far-right flank, questions are surfacing about the chamber’s ability to administer even the most important laws, such as government funding and meeting the nation’s debt obligations.
Biden will tell heroic tales in his afternoon speeches, whether in the face of a violent mob in the Capitol or a vehement horde of Agitators inspired by Donald Trump poll officials threatened or otherwise attempted to overturn the results. He will call for unity.
But the Democratic president can’t ignore the warning signs it could happen again.
In the midtermsCandidates who said no the outcome of the 2020 free and fair elections were defeated for many key national positions in overseeing elections in battleground states, as were a number of vote-resisters seeking a seat in Congress.
Yet many of the lawmakers who made unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud or condoned the Jan. 6 violence continue to serve and are newly empowered.
Trump’s 2024 candidacy was slow to get off the ground, but his war chest is full and some potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have channeled his false claims about the 2020 race.
Also several lawmakers who joined him Lying about a stolen election central at the time to efforts to prevent Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s rise to the ranks of speaker – unperturbed by Trump’s calls from afar to support him and end the fight.
The protracted struggle leaves the House leaderless, unable to pass bills and powerless to do much more than hold vote after vote for a Speaker until a majority is reached. Everything from national security briefings to helping their constituents navigate federal bureaucracy is on hold because elected members cannot yet take their oath of office.
Some Democrats see a solid line from January 6th.
The chaos surrounding the speaker election “is about destroying an institution in a different way,” said Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, one of the lawmakers who fled the rioters two years ago.
Then the insurgents some legislators trapped in the House of Representatives chamber but never broke it. They held up national business for hours that day.
Now some feel trapped in the same chamber by the repeated fruitless votes for Speaker – 11 votes so far – and House business is held up and counting for the week.
“The stream of continuity here is extremism, elements of Trumpism, norms don’t matter,” says Democratic Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois. “It’s not about governing, it’s about preaching and taking an extremist view.”
Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire said, “It’s a very small minority that wants to throw this institution into chaos.”
After the unsatisfactory midterm elections for Trump allies, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack concluded its work with a recommendation to the Justice Department prosecute the ex-president. A special counsel and eventually Attorney General Merrick Garland will now decide whether to charge him.
While the congressional investigation has concluded, the criminal proceedings are still ongoing, both for the 950 arrested and accused of the violent attack, and for Trump and his associates, who remain under investigation. The second inflammatory conspiracy trial begins this week for members of the far-right Proud Boys.
In a measured but significant step, Congress changed in December the election counting law limiting the vice president’s role in counting electoral votes, making it more difficult for individual lawmakers to object to properly certified election results, and eliminating “fake voters” of the kind used by Trump allies to reverse his defeat by Biden.
After all of that, Biden, who had made it a tentstick of his agenda to prove to the world that democracies can do something for their citizens, had hoped that this would be “the first time we’ve really looked at the whole issue in terms of.” 6/11 Things are calming down.”
But then came the battle for the orator, rare in the annals of Congress.
“And now, for the first time in 100 years, we can’t move?” Biden said earlier this week. “It does not look good. It’s not a good thing.”
“Look,” he continued, “how do you think the rest of the world is doing?”
Will Rogers’ enduring quip – “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat” – now looks dated and out of place. democrats voted unanimously for their new Speaker of the House of RepresentativesRep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, in a seamless transition from Nancy Pelosi.
Two years after January 6 and Trump’s subsequent departure, the Republicans, the party for which the longest queue usually meant victory, are now the party of factions and disorder.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/2-years-after-jan-6/507-74c03be3-ae5a-4e8d-912e-8169097941fe Washington marks 2 years since the attack on the capital