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Ah… Be careful!

Maybe you’ll get what you’re looking for.

Cool babies.

Strange. But I’m not a stranger.

I’m a normal guy.

Burning the house. —Talking heads. “Burning down the house.” 1983

David Byrne’s hypnotic octave drop between the lyrics “watch” and “out” is an audible warning.


Those are the opening lines of Talking Heads’ ’80s anthem, “Burning Down the House.” The listener is warned. A tumultuous musical adventure lies ahead. The pending script is twisted gibberish. Words that fit, but don’t make any sense. An almost homage to “I Am the Walrus” by the Beatles.

Like Byrne’s lyrics, what’s happening these days in the US House of Representatives doesn’t make much sense.

Careful. The House seems to be out of control at the moment. Political arsonists light matches and pour gasoline everywhere.

The Republicans have the majority. But they have been burning down their own house.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, criticized the Senate’s bipartisan $118 billion border security and foreign aid package after the text of the deal was released. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

“Things haven’t been working well at all and that needs to change,” pleaded Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn.

Chaos takes over the House.

That’s saying a lot, considering this is an institution that has virtually mastered dysfunction.

“We can’t do anything,” lamented Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

Lawmakers are exasperated.

“My Republican friends are barely hanging on to this majority by their fingernails,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee.

My house…

It’s out of the ordinary.

That’s how it is.

I don’t want to hurt anyone.


House Republicans have blocked their own bills, crafted with the blessing of GOP leaders, from reaching the House floor a staggering six times in the past eight months. The House typically requires lawmakers to pass a “rule” to allocate debate time and dictate whether amendments are in order. Only then can legislation be introduced.

The majority usually votes yes, giving the green light to the debate. The minority usually opposes the rule. But Republicans have burned down their own government six times. That is a surprising number. Previous majorities only defeated two rules in the previous 23 years.

Republicans have struggled for 13 months with their narrow majority. He began the 15-round presidential race in January of last year, an exercise not seen since 1858.

“We only had a two-vote margin at the end (of our majority),” said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

But Pelosi could empathize with the contemporary struggles of House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana.

Michael Johnson

President Mike Johnson led Republican leaders in a statement opposing the border deal. (Getty Images)

“I don’t think people understand how difficult it is,” Pelosi said. “Respect members on both sides of the aisle. Build consensus. Prioritize your issues. Don’t put people at risk for things that aren’t important.”

TS Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month” in his seminal poem, “The Waste Land.”

Back on Capitol Hill, Johnson could argue with Elliot about April’s brutality.

February has been an unmitigated disaster for House Republicans. More things have gone wrong for the Republican Party than points scored in the NBA All-Star Game.

This is:

Republicans torched two of their own “rules.” They failed during their first attempt to remove Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas before removing him by just one vote after the GOP took a mulligan. Johnson even introduced a bill to help Israel, which quickly failed. That was an unforced error. Conventional wisdom is that Johnson should not have pressed the Israel bill, especially since the defeat came moments after the failed impeachment vote. And Republicans even saw their slim majority shrink even further.

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y. won a special election in New York to succeed ousted Rep. George Santos, RN.Y. The Republican majority will shrink from 219 Republicans to 213 Democrats when the House swears in Suozzi on Wednesday. That means Johnson can only lose two votes in any roll call vote and still pass a measure, without Democratic assistance.


Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (Candice Ward/Getty Images)

The morning after Suozzi’s victory, Fox News Radio’s Ryan Schmelz asked Johnson how he would “handle a narrow majority.”

“Just like we do every day. We just argue a lot with the members,” Johnson responded.

It’s about mathematics. But the way they have done things “every day” has not brought them a victory.

That’s why some Republicans are targeting Johnson. They regret that the House abandoned former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. That’s why McCarthy allies are particularly infuriated by how bad things have been in the House lately.

“Whatever the cards were for McCarthy, they are the same cards that are being dealt to President Johnson,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla. “All he did was use a crowbar and make it worse.”

Some Republicans criticized the leaders for their indecision and for making late decisions.

“They have to start thinking strategically about the long term. Not just what’s in front of us,” said Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.

It is true that some legislators are making long-term strategic decisions. They are dating.

So far, five committee chairs have announced their retirement: Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas; Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. China special committee chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Financial Services. Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry, RN.C. and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn.

Green said he would not seek re-election shortly after the House impeached Mayorkas. Green will act as the main manager (or prosecutor) of the impeachment while the House presents its case to the Senate. Green saw that as an opportunity to get to the top.

“What I mean is, you go out for the win, right? And I accomplished what I wanted to do,” Green said.

A recent poll by Monmouth University found that only 17 percent of people surveyed approve of the job Congress is doing. But not everyone believes that political paralysis is bad.

“Let me tell you something about the people I represent,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. “They don’t want this body to continue passing more laws and spending more money just because.”

This is the “burning down the House” problem that plagues lawmakers. Especially with two government funding deadlines looming.

We talked about February and April before. So let’s hope March comes in like a lion.

As David Byrne sang, some conservatives are “fighting fire with fire.” And they are not getting what they are looking for either.


So they didn’t just burn the house down. But maybe also shut down the government.

By Sam