Sunday, January 01, 2023


What's the top priority of the incoming Republican majority in the House? Kevin McCarthy, who wants to be Speaker, is clear about this:
Friday, during an appearance on FNC’s “Jesse Watters Primetime,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy teased Congress’ immediate upcoming actions to start 2023.

First up, according to the California Republican, after electing the Speaker of the House was to repeal the 87,000 IRS agents provision passed by Congress earlier this year....

“... on the very first day, the first thing we’re going to do is repeal the 87,000 IRS agents,” McCarthy [said]. “Another reason why the Democrats are mad at me, I think – government should be here to help you, not to go after you..."
The Republican whip in the House, Steve Scalise, who'll probably become Speaker if McCarthy doesn't, concurs. Topping the list of eleven bills Scalise says will be taken up in the first two weeks after the new House is sworn in is this:
H.R. __ - Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act
• This bill rescinds tens of billions of dollars allocated to the IRS for 87,000 new IRS agents in the Inflation Reduction Act
Is it odd that this is the bill the House GOP regards as most important, rather than one targeting inflation or crime or immigration (or Hunter Biden)?

It's a sign that the GOP is still the party of Reaganite coddling of the rich, despite all the talk about Republicans and plutocrats "breaking up" or getting a "divorce." This is classic pre-Trump Republicanism: Sell a policy that favors the rich and big corporations to ordinary voters as if it will protect them. There's no reason to think this is a new GOP transformed by Trump into a pro-blue-collar party. IRS-bashing was a favorite Republican rhetorical tactic decades ago -- when Barack Obama's healthcare plan was attacked as likely to have "the efficiency of the Post Office and the compassion of the IRS," that was an echo of GOP attacks from two decades earlier.

And the IRS-bashing doesn't seem to be particularly about Trump, even after the release of his tax returns. Note the name of the bill to roll back IRS funding: the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act. Republicans mean your family, not Trump's. (Or at least that's what they're saying -- they really mean their donors' families.)

And this all part of a broad-based assault on "the administrative state" that seems somewhat connected to Trump, but mostly post-Trumpian:
House conservatives are upping their demands on Kevin McCarthy as he tries to lock down the speaker’s gavel.

... Some of those opposing and on the fence about the Californian’s speakership bid want him to start a new [select committee], one that could direct probes against the entities they’ve castigated for years, including the FBI, the Justice Department, the IRS and Anthony Fauci.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) ... pointed to three ... entities that could fall under its purview, in addition to the FBI and Justice Department: Fauci and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Education and the IRS and money that will let the agency hire new staff.
They want to investigate the search of Mar-a-Lago, the treatment of January 6 prisoners, and other Trump-related matters, but the rest of this goes beyond Trump. It's where the party is headed now. In addition to the IRS, they want to attack pandemic public health measures and education "wokeness." That's the GOP of Ron DeSantis, Chris Rufo, and Tucker Carlson, not Donald Trump.

Trump can still be important to the party, and he might become more important if his legal troubles worsen and he's able to leverage grievance. But House Republicans are pointing the way toward a new GOP that's both post- and pre-Trumpian. They don't really need him.

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