The taxpayer-subsidized PBS NewsHour interviewed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Thursday night about Israel, Ukraine, and the Republican failure to elect a new Speaker of the House. Co-host Geoff Bennett asked Jeffries nothing that might be embarrassing to the Democrats:
— No question about Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulling a “FIRE” alarm to delay a shutdown bill and claiming it was to open a door.
— No question about Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey being indicted for being a foreign agent.
— No question about his own caucus including people who have sided with Hamas over Israel, including Rashida Tlaib, who refused to denounce Hamas under questioning from a Fox reporter; as well as Ilhan “Israel hypnotized the world” Omar, and Pramila Jayapal, who called Israel a “racist state” and then tried to walk it back.
— No question about whether the Biden administration’s pandering and opening financial windfalls to Iran — which deeply and dearly supports Hamas — could be blamed as enabling the Hamas horrors.
Instead, Bennett began with two questions about how the House Republicans are undermining America’s foreign policy objectives:
— The Israel-Hamas war is now in its sixth day. The U.S. has sent munitions, aircraft carriers, fighter jets to aid Israel after the Hamas attacks. What additional U.S. assistance, though, is being held up by the infighting among House Republicans and the resulting absence to have a House speaker?
— Extending Ukraine funding is now a point of contention among House Republicans. Do you support the idea, as is being discussed, of linking aid to Israel with extended Ukraine funding as a strategy to have put both priorities pass?
Then Bennett turned to the Speaker’s race. The PBS online headline for this interview was “Jeffries encourages moderate Republicans to join Democrats and end House deadlock.” In other words, a power-sharing agreement with Democrats, so they’re half-in-charge.
WATCH: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries invites Republicans to join Democrats “to get the House back on track.”
“We are inherently reasonable about what we think can occur, but we just require Republican partners in order to do it,” the House minority leader tells @GeoffRBennett.
See more… pic.twitter.com/zEyIsrKIpN
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) October 12, 2023
Even though Congressman Steve Scalise defeated Congressman Jim Jordan for the Republican nomination to be speaker. He does not have the 217 votes that he would need of the full House to be to be elected. Still, though, is Steve Scalise someone who Democrats could work with? And is there any scenario under which Democrats would supply him the votes that he needs to be elected?
Jeffries said “I have had a positive working relationship with Steve Scalise throughout the years….But this is an issue right now for the Republicans to work out.” Bennett didn’t suggest he was putting “party over country.” Instead, Bennett suggested maybe the GOP “moderates” should back Jeffries for Speaker:
When you talk about this bipartisan path, are you talking about the fact that you would only need five House Republicans to join with the 212 Democrats and elect you House speaker? And we should say there are 18 Republican members who are — who have been elected from districts that Joe Biden won? Is that we are speaking of?
Jeffries denied that, but suggested his “inherently reasonable” power-sharing arrangement so someone could govern.
Practically, though, how would this work? So there would be a Republican House speaker, but Democrats would have, what, more committee memberships, they’d have a greater say in how the functions of the floor work?
Finally, Bennett turned it back around to Republicans paralyzing the House:
In the absence of that, as you well know, House paralysis will reach a tipping point if dysfunction and this deadlock continue. We have this November 17 government shutdown deadline. Is there a path forward?
On Twitter, PBS NewsHour promotes itself as “one of the most trusted news programs on TV and online.” They can be trusted…to offer a pliant publicity platform for Leader Jeffries.