House Republicans Call It Quits Amid Rampant Dysfunction
Plus: Meta is trying to figure out how to regulate sarcasm
Good afternoon, Press Pass readers. Programming note: I’ll be joining my colleagues Charlie Sykes, Mona Charen, and Will Saletan on tonight’s episode of Thursday Night Bulwark at 8 p.m. ET. We’ll be discussing (another) looming indictment of Donald Trump, new presidential candidates (are you ready for Burgumentum?), the chaotic week in Congress, and more. Consider upgrading to paid so you don’t miss out on the show or on today’s newsletter; both are exclusively for Bulwark+ members.
Today’s Press Pass focuses on a few different topics. The House is still stuck in limbo thanks to a small but determined group of Freedom Caucus members and their conservative allies who have obstructed the chamber’s proceedings. Things are so bad lawmakers have been told to not come back until Monday, but even that’s up in the air. We’ll also examine how Meta—Mark Zuckerberg’s tech company, which owns Facebook and Instagram—is determining how to regulate content where irony complicates the picture of a poster’s intent. I’ve also got a note about one of the anti-trans activists who made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week. Let’s dive in.
Dysfunction seems to have become a hallmark of Congress when Republicans are in charge. In the early to mid-2010s, Tea Party insurgents regularly disrupted the regular order, prompting House Speaker John Boehner to abruptly quit in 2015. The Trump-era GOP majority brought about multiple government shutdowns, including one that lasted 35 days just before Christmas in 2018—the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history. Now that Republicans have returned to power in the House, the dysfunction has gotten so bad that business—even bad business—can’t get done.