Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More splits in House GOP ranks

The Hill

As the midterm elections loom and concern about maintaining their majority hold on the House increases, rank-and-file Republicans have grown more and more combative with their leaders and themselves.

In the past two weeks, Republican House members have sparred openly on the House floor and have criticized their Speaker behind closed doors.

With immigration reform, an update of the Voting Rights Act and a series of appropriations bills among the few big-ticket items remaining on this year’s legislative calendar, it is unlikely these intraparty squabbles will die down any time soon, particularly as vulnerable Republicans seek to distance themselves from their party and their president.

While bickering is a constant on Capitol Hill, the recent rancor illustrates the election-year self-interest of individual members that could make it increasingly difficult for leaders to tackle controversial legislation. In turn, the growing discord could help paint the GOP as divided.

With all eyes on immigration, spending restraint continues to be the quiet issue that divides congressional Republicans this year. Members were forced to postpone a vote on the supplemental spending bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq until after the Memorial Day recess because House and Senate negotiators were unable to settle on a final bill.......

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