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April 14, 2023 12:20 PM UTC

House Republicans Literally Work to Achieve Nothing

  • 8 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

 

Republican Reps. Ken DeGraaf (left) and Scott “There is No” Bottoms take turns doing nothing

The 2023 legislative session in Colorado’s House of Representatives is not unlike a typical first grade classroom. Most of the kids in the room are excited to be there – to learn new things and make new friends and sing new songs. Some of the kids have trouble playing nice with others, and they chafe at following instructions from teachers and other support staff. And then there are a few kids who just want to sit in the back of the room and eat glue.  

As legislators embark on their final weeks of the 2023 session, a common storyline is emerging from a leaderless and directionless Republican caucus that represents the smallest House minority in generations. These 19 House Republicans are the glue-eaters from our earlier analogy. They complain about EVERYTHING and contribute virtually nothing. Democrats can’t work with House Republicans because there is no leader who can hold the caucus together. 

This is no exaggeration. Here’s Rep. Stephanie Luck (R-Colorado Springs) concluding a speech on the House floor on Thursday that was theoretically related to HB23-1264 (“Update Livestock Health Act”):

 

 

This is weird. Uncomfortably weird.

And like many House Republican time-wasting efforts, it was also clearly pre-planned – you can see Luck prepare herself for a moment before she begins. Luck’s song about “rubber stamps” is from the same whiny playlist that House Republicans have kept on repeat since early January. 

The House GOP is stuck in a micro-minority that COLORADO VOTERS created in the 2022 election by selecting 46 Democrats in the 65-member chamber. This is how democracy works, yet House Republicans have convinced themselves that they are being oppressed because they are unable to control the outcome of legislative discussions. It’s childish and embarrassing, and it has done little to prevent Democrats from achieving the policy goals that they promised voters in the last election cycle. Throwing daily tantrums is also unlikely to convince voters in 2024 that things should be different. 

 

Strategerie!

It is a common tactic for sports teams holding a lead over their opponent to attempt to run out the clock in order to ensure victory. This strategy only bears fruit, however, IF YOU HAVE THE LEAD IN THE FIRST PLACE.  

Several local news outlets have recently examined the House GOP’s glue-eating, including The Colorado Sun in today’s “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

In recent days, Republicans have started to slow things down on the House floor by extensively debating each bill, at one point even speaking at length in support of a Democratic measure. Republicans have consistently tried to delay lawmaking, hoping to run out the 120-day legislative calendar before Democrats can accomplish all of their policy goals. [Pols emphasis]

The tactic has left the chamber moving at a molasses pace, and Democrats are getting frustrated.

“I am deeply disappointed with how our colleagues are attempting to delay the work,” McCluskie said. “We will continue to operate in good faith, negotiate with the minority around their priorities for the session. But I am also committed to making sure we get our work done. So we will press on to make that happen.”

House Republicans are accomplishing NOTHING of value from a policy perspective, and they’re making their own narrative worse by demonstrating that they have no interest in trying to do their actual jobs. On Wednesday, Rep. Scott “There is No” Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs) spent 45 minutes explaining the definition of a “Pharmacy Benefit Manager” (PBM) during a discussion about HB23-1227 (“Enforce Laws Against Pharmacy Benefit Managers”). 

 

 

Bottoms was clearly just trying to waste time during discussion of legislation that would help reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Coloradans. Near the end of his nonsensical remarks, Republican Rep. Richard Holtorf handed Bottoms a note, which he read quietly before mumbling:

“With that said, I am…at this stage…I think potentially…I am done.”

Bottoms then turned the microphone over to Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R-Colorado Springs), who proceeded to read aloud – for another 20 minutes – the current laws surrounding PBMs. 

Despite this neverending nonsense, House Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-udderless) continues to insist that there is some genuine strategerie at play. As the “Unaffiliated” continues:

House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, R-Wellington, said he’s worked well with McCluskie and Democrats to find common ground, but that his caucus is going to continue trying to extract more concessions. [Pols emphasis]

“I’m disappointed that McCluskie is not intuitive enough to realize we’re going to use every tool we’ve got,” he said. “The way to speed things up is for her to moderate some of this absolutely crazy legislation.”

Still, Lynch said he doesn’t agree with his colleague’s decision to filibuster and often tries to persuade his caucus members not to strain the House GOP’s tenuous relationship with Democrats and risk losing the progress they’ve made.

This is an amazing couple of sentences. As we’ve discussed previously, Lynch is the very definition of someone who carries a title in name only. He brags about extracting “concessions” from Democrats, but Lynch has already demonstrated that those negotiations are completely useless because any number of fruit bats in his caucus will just torpedo any deal on a whim (Kyle Clark of 9News referred to this phenomenon as the “caucus of one” in a story last month).

Then, after complaining about House Speaker Julie McCluskie, Lynch immediately acknowledges that he’s existing in a modern-day version of “Lord of the Flies.” It is a remarkable bit of verbal gymnastics in which no sentence fits together with another.

 

What Do We Want? Nothing! When Do We Want It? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”50%”]“Negotiations between the parties have fallen apart at times, as some House Republicans have refused to accept the terms of deals that others were ready to accept.”

     — Colorado Public Radio (4/11/23)[/mantra-pullquote]

As Andy Kenney and Bente Birkeland recently reported for Colorado Public Radio, House Democrats have (rightly) grown sick of this nonsense from Republicans:

An emboldened Democratic supermajority is pushing forward sweeping legislative proposals, with less patience for Republicans’ delay tactics. Meanwhile, a deeply disempowered GOP caucus is struggling to agree on a response — with several lawmakers wanting to abandon the longstanding minority strategy of negotiation and compromise…

In favor of…what, exactly?

Again, this bears repeating: THERE IS NO PLAN FROM REPUBLICANS. They aren’t suggesting realistic alternative legislation or amendments on any policy discussion. Colorado Public Radio provides a telling example from a recent “discussion” about gun safety legislation:

For example, Democrats offered to exempt manufacturers of certain accessories, something that Republicans had been asking for. 

“They were good amendments,” said Republican state Rep. Matt Soper, who was tracking the negotiations throughout the weekend. “There was the nod that that’s how we were gonna proceed.”

But when the Republican caucus got together to discuss the final deal on Saturday evening, several of the most conservative members balked, deciding instead to “blow up the bill,” according to Soper. [Pols emphasis]

For that faction of the party — which includes about five members — the small changes weren’t worth dropping their overall objections to the bill. The hardliners are generally from deep-red counties and are in their first or second term in the House.

“The ‘compromise to victory’ strategy, I don’t think is a strategy. I think it’s just compromise,” freshman Republican state Rep. Ken DeGraaf of Colorado Springs said in an interview later. “The only way to satisfy [my concerns] would be to kill the bill entirely, as far as the constitutionality part.” [Pols emphasis]

That last quote from Rep. Ken DeGraaf speaks volumes. The only “compromise” that DeGraaf would accept is to junk the bill entirely. That’s…not a compromise. You can’t make a deal with someone when the only offer on the table is “give me everything I want and forget about whatever you would like to accomplish.” 

BTW…it’s worth noting that all of the gun violence prevention bills that Republicans were opposing ended up passing anyway. Cool tantrum, though!

 

The FiliBLUSTER

In early March, Lynch and his colleagues held a press conference in which they claimed that Democrats were mismanaging the legislative calendar and “not doing enough.” The VERY NEXT DAY, House Republicans launched a half-assed filibuster against legislation that sought to create a three-day waiting period for gun purchases in Colorado. 

Honest dialogue

We have referred to House Republican filibuster attempts as “filiBLUSTERs,” because the GOP isn’t slowing things down as a negotiating tactic; wasting time is both the strategy AND the goal for these Republican “lawmakers.” House Republicans oppose anything that Democrats support…and even bills that their own caucus ends up backing. 

Supposing that Lynch were able to hold a deal together with his carnival caucus, it’s not clear what Republicans would want to achieve anyway. This is kinda why Colorado voters relegated them to the kid’s table; the majority of Coloradans don’t want whatever it is that the GOP is selling, but that message STILL hasn’t sunk in despite repeated election losses up and down the ballot. If Republicans were ever granted control in the House of Representatives, Lynch has already promised that they would embark on legislative priorities that nobody wants. 

Lynch elaborated on his misunderstanding of Colorado voters in a recent interview with KUNC radio:

“We will use any tactic we can,” Republican House Minority Leader Mike Lynch said. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, one of those is to delay bills. But, you know, I think for the most part, we want these bills to get the attention that they deserve.”

That means preventing the passage of rushed bills, Lynch said. He also hopes the delays will stop Democrats from passing all the bills they have introduced. [Pols emphasis]

The chamber has spent too much time on issues that Lynch said affect only a small number of residents. Local control, taxes and public safety should have been central to the session, he said.

“I don’t think the people of Colorado want us to spend two weeks of our 120 days on issues like abortion and guns, that impact a pretty niche part of the state,” Lynch said. [Pols emphasis]

Abortion rights and gun violence are “niche” issues?

The response from House Speaker McCluskie makes a lot more sense:

“I am deeply disappointed with how our colleagues are attempting just to delay the work,” McCluskie said. “That is not what Coloradans hired us to do. [Pols emphasis] 

It doesn’t matter what issue is being discussed; for House Republicans, the only response is to delay.

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Monica Duran invoked a rule to end third reading debate over SB23-093 (“Increase Consumer Protections Medical Transactions”) and move to a vote in the House chamber. Among other things, SB23-093 would cap interest rates on medical debt in order to help prevent Coloradans from going bankrupt over emergency medical bills.

The legislation passed, with only four ‘NO’ votes. House Republicans had been intentionally delaying discussion about a bill that they actually supported.

Comments

8 thoughts on “House Republicans Literally Work to Achieve Nothing

  1. McCluskie is great, but she needs to start shutting down these anti-Democratic blathering zealots so we can get more bills passed. I get trying to be diplomatic, but Repubs only want to smear shit on the walls, they don't want to compromise or debate. They're in the minority for a reason, now just ignore them and move on.

  2. One correction: Stephanie Luck isn’t from Colorado Springs, she’s from Penrose/Fremont County, the same cesspool that proudly gave the state Ron Hanks and Kevin “Sexual Assault Cover-Up” Grantham.

  3. Rep. Stephanie Luck is from Pueblo, she was elected the same year as Ron Hanks, who was from Penrose.

    She sure is nutty, rubber stamp song indeed.

    1. It is important to remember these clowns work for seriously bad people who want to do seriously bad things. We must not allow the “Angertainment Circus” to distract us from the likes of Clarence Thomas, MGT, and the Tennessee state legislature.

      The super-rich have a mission. It is to complete the demise of the New Deal. The social safety net…the welfare state…public education…multi- culturalism. That kind of thing. It is driven in large measure by Christian evangelism and racism. One only need listen to the words of Rep. Boebert, one of the GQPs’ most uninhibited howler monkeys.

      Let us not be distracted by buffoons.

       

      1. MGT? Did you mean MTG, currently being criticized by some fellow Rs for defending the 21 year old who did the massive military data leak?

        Tennessee state legislature……….The Idaho state legislature deserves at least an honorable mention in the world of far right wing stupidity.

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