McHenry Slams Johnson: “We’re Sucking Wind”

Former interim Speaker of the House Patrick McHenry had plenty of criticism for current Speaker Mike Johnson on Thursday over his handling of the budget, the border, and the barking orders faction of the GOP House members.

“We wish him great success,” the North Carolina Republican told reporters. “But he needs to widen the group of advisers he has. The loudest members of our conference should not dictate the strategic course of a smart majority — especially in the most complicated bits where those loudest voices are least likely to participate in the votes necessary.”

Specifically, McHenry didn’t like Johnson’s decision to split the government funding bills into two and advance stopgap spending legislation.

That was “an active choice to extend the pain and create suffering,” McHenry said. “By us not executing the deal in December, we’ve cost the Defense Department four and a half billion dollars a month — out of an active choice by House Republicans. I think it’s a faulty choice. I think it’s a bad choice.”

“If we keep extending the pain, creating more suffering, we will pay the price at the ballot box,” he said. “At this point, we’re sucking wind because we can’t get past the main object in the road. ... We need to get the hell out of the way. Cut the best deals we can get and then get on with the political year.”

Other nuggets of wisdom McHenry provided for Speaker Johnson:

  • He said Johnson needs to accept that “Republicans control one-third of the negotiations,” so “we’re going to not get 100 percent of the wins.”
  • “seek the best for what is right in the political year” by compromising with Democrats when it comes to legislating on the border
  • “Frankly, Democrats are not going to vote for a border wall,” he said. So “take the moment, man — take the policy win, bank it, and go back for more.”

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