Democratic Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut didn’t want to lose his temper, but said this week he couldn’t help it.
Himes went to dinner Tuesday with two Republican lawmakers at an ambassador’s residence, just hours after Police officers gave explosive testimony About to fear for his life during the Capitol Hill rebellion on January 6, when the ambassador asked the group what it was like to be in Congress during the rebellion.
“I’m usually a conciliator, but I just said ‘screw it,'” Himes shared, recalling CNN that he couldn’t refrain from calling out his Republican allies at that moment.
“I’m not going to sit here and say anything we all know happened,” Himes said. “I just said, you know, I’ll never forgive the president for doing so much damage to our democracy and it’s so hard to see my Republican colleagues getting involved in this big lie.”
After that, Himes said there was a “very long strange silence”.
In the months straight after January 6, tensions among members of Congress were at an all-time high. Many lawmakers refused to work with those who did not vote to certify the presidential election and installment of metal detectors gave rise to distrust and outrage outside the House.
On the Senate side, tensions gradually became more pronounced, culminating in the bipartisanship shown in the recent vote. To advance the $1 trillion infrastructure package where 17 Republicans Join Democrats.
But on the House side, the past two weeks have emphasized that the tense dynamic has gotten worse. The creation of a select committee to investigate 6 January, which pitted the party leadership of the House against each other and put the members’ past positions at the forefront of the attack, After this the mask mandate is being restored, has fueled a level of fury in the corridors of the House, which has poured petrol on an already scorching working relationship.
“Especially for people who have experience and a history of working with each other across the aisle, I felt like things were finally starting to melt away,” one Democratic aide told CNN over the past few months. . “Unfortunately, it now seems to have stopped this week.”
The employee cited pushback on wearing masks again and the fact that some lawmakers were not impressed by police officers’ testimony at select committee hearings as sources of new tension.
Just days before his confrontation with his Republican colleagues at an ambassador’s residence, Himes had fallen into the crosshairs of another example of how political disputes are affecting unrelated business in Congress.
Shortly after being appointed to serve as chairman of the Select Committee on Economic Inequality and Fairness in Development, Himes learned that no Republican would initially declare to serve with Democrats on the committee. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had withdrawn his selection for the major select committee on the economy because he was still upset that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his choices for the more controversial select committee: one investigating the January 6 riots.
“It’s disappointing to me that we got caught up in the whole January 6 committee issue because we’re obviously totally totally different,” Himes told CNN.
Himes said he had spoken to McCarthy about his intentions for the selection committee prior to the announcement and that there was no indication that McCarthy would withdraw his appointments until this was done. Although he says he hasn’t spoken to McCarthy since the decision to remove the Republican from his select committee is expected “to quell the anger”, Himes told CNN that he was trying to find a way to “insulate”. About planning to reach out to Pelosi and McCarthy. From derailing the committee from future political feuds.
Earlier this week, a regular rules committee meeting went viral on the way members talked about the January 6 uprising.
The chairman of the Committee on Rules, Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, urged members to stay on the topic as partisan fights broke out and members were distracted from work.
“I wish we weren’t going down this road right now,” McGovern said. “We are now prone to a lot of generalizations that paint people here with a broad brush that is wrong. And I think if we want to go back to a time where we can really find common ground, So we all have to cool it down a bit.
But things reached a fever pitch when Democratic Rep. Jamie Ruskin, who serves on the select committee investigating the riots, used part of his time to rail on GOP Representative Andrew Clyde and pin him down on whether he still stands with his ex. Comments on Jan’s Calling Scene “A typical tourist trip.”
Several members sought the order, but Ruskin pushed Clyde to admit that he did not regret his previous statement on January 6 described as “a normal tourist visit”, even though Clyde refused to admit it. Denied that by extension he was calling rioters from that day. .
The masked mandate being restored in the House has created yet another furious level of resentment between the two sides.
Lauren Boebert threw a mask at a floor worker When he was stopped trying to walk on the floor of the house without one. Republicans protesting the new mask mandate forced several procedural delays on the floor of the House. Many in the GOP raided Thursday against guidance from Capitol police, which said employees and visitors could be arrested for evading mask rules, even though that exact language was used in a similar release obtained by CNN. which went out last year.
The House Republican Freedom Caucus held a press conference pressuring McCarthy to move a motion to remove Pelosi from her chair. Many of them later walked back and forth between the House and the Senate without masks, to highlight that mask guidance differs between the two chambers, and oppose its use in the House.
And above all, the rhetoric has reached a scorching new pitch.
McCarthy said he did not see the selection committee’s first hearing in the January 6 investigation. When Pelosi was asked about this by CNN, she replied, “Whenever you mention his name, you don’t get an answer from me. Don’t waste my time.”
Pelosi told reporters that McCarthy framed the new mask guidance in the House as a “decision made by liberal government officials who want to continue living in the face of an ongoing pandemic”, “He’s such a fool.”
Rank-and-file members have also taken shots at their opposing side.
When McCarthy came to the House against the new mask mandate and questioned the science and logic behind the decision, Democratic Representative Tim Ryan gave an impassioned speech calling McCarthy’s argument “immature and appalling” and ultimately “under the minority”. . The leader of one of the major political parties in the United States. ”
South Carolina GOP Rep. Ralph Norman called Pelosi an “disgrace”, Georgia’s Jody Hiss described Pelosi’s leadership as a “rigorous, authoritarian regime”, and Arizona’s Andy Biggs said his “tyranny knows no bounds.”
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff McCarthy’s tweet On Thursday, “If anyone thought the GOP’s fatal incompetence ended after Trump left office, Kevin McCarthy proves otherwise. He reflects the former president’s anti-science, anti-truth mentality. Our Democracy and Our Health.” For, he should never become the president.”
Democratic Representative Jared Huffman got into a shout-out match with GOP Representative Byron Donalds as Donalds, who told reporters he had not been vaccinated, refused to put on his mask.
Huffman, wearing a mask, said that Donald was selfish for not wearing a mask, but Donalds replied, “Don’t worry about me! Be mean with your job!”
GOP Representative Chip Roy, one of the many right-wing Republicans not wearing a mask at the protest Wednesday who tried several times this week to adjourn the House, said on the House floor, “This institution is a sham. And we should postpone and close this place.”
Some are hoping that the House approaching a seven-week holiday will help defuse these tensions.
“Thankfully we’re all going home on the August holiday in a few days, and we’ll get a little bit of a break from all of this,” said GOP Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana.