The new Congress is at war with itself.
The two sides of the aisle are consumed in warfare against each other.
President Joe Biden baited Republican hecklers during his State of the Union address last week. And this was not just a signature moment in his speech. it was in line with a series of partisan stunts that have marked the new Congress.
From moves aimed at tweaking the political opposition, to spats that have challenged the decorum in the House of Representatives, members of both parties have jumped on opportunities to score political points and try to make things awkward for the other side.
House Republicans are in charge for the first time in four years, and are heavily leading on the antics.
The Republicans seem dead set on putting the other party in as awkward of positions as possible, while seeking leverage in upcoming talks.
There are many upcoming discussions on key issues such as the debt ceiling and government funding.
For example, Republicans at an organizing meeting for the Natural Resources Committee made a push to allow House members to carry guns in meetings. It led to a heated party-line debate.
Another example came recently in the form of a GOP-backed measure denouncing socialism “in all its forms.” This rogue measure passed the House and seemed designed to divide Democrats.
It did just that. Dozens of Democrats voted against it, figuring it could be interpreted as a statement against Social Security and Medicare.
Then there was a plan by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) for the Judiciary Committee to say the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) questioned whether Republicans who supported former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election should be allowed to lead the pledge.
Republicans have forced Democrats to vote on divisive issues that sometimes made them choose between party unity and re-election considerations.
This has included resolutions such as denouncing attacks on anti-abortion groups, ending Covid pandemic-era emergency status for program funding, and overturning laws that were passed by Washington, D.C.’s city council.
Experts say that the often-petty back and forth between the parties likely adds to the challenge Congress faces in trying to cut a budget deal to keep the government funded and avoid a default on U.S. debt.