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Guess who just bid $100K for McCarthy’s used chapstick


“I am honored to be able to donate $100,000 more [National Republican Congressional Committee] to help the Republicans increase our majority in 2024 and defeat the Democrats. My constituents will be honored to host a visit with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who we all think is doing a great job, Greene said in a statement.

The moment illustrates the strange reality that House Republicans find themselves in: With McCarthy and President Joe Biden still significantly apart on a debt deal just days before the Treasury Department’s expected deadline, they have little to do but defend the speaker and raise questions on the reliability of the Ministry of Finance’s estimates. So far, they say they are strongly united behind McCarthy.

Democrats greeted the McCarthy chapstick auction, first reported by POLITICO, with barely masked alarm.

“The [are] doing this crazy chapstick crap while the country teeters on default. Wild,” tweeted the progressive rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

“Spending $100,000 on chapstick while working overtime to get the programs that working families depend on. GOP priorities in a nutshell,” repeated rep. Nydia Velazquez (DN.Y.).

The fundraiser during Tuesday morning’s closed-door GOP conference meeting lasted about 15 minutes, with first-term Rep. Aaron Bean (R-Fla.) leading the auction — it was, after all his campaign’s branded chapstick up to bid. Other members who bid included Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

After the bidding and solicitation of contributions to the NRCC was completed, House Republicans returned their focus to the debt ceiling. During that part of the meeting, they expressed skepticism that June 1 was as certain a potential debt default “X-date” as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has suggested.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) used the meeting to urge his colleagues to call Yellen to testify about her estimates before the House Financial Services Committee by June 1, the Florida Republican confirmed.

“So far she’s been the Obi-Wan Kenobi of wrong answers on the economy,” he said as he left Tuesday’s meeting, arguing that Yellen is following orders from the White House to heighten the public urgency of a looming debt default.

Gaetz added that Yellen has less to show to support her forecast of a potential standard than a student doing “a typical eighth-grade algebra assignment.”

That skepticism was echoed by Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who said “we’d like to see more transparency” about how the Treasury Department came up with its warning, repeated Monday, that the nation is at risk of default to pay his bills next week.

As White House negotiators left the Capitol for the day Tuesday, Scalise told reporters there was “nothing new to report yet” on forward momentum. McCarthy reiterated the upbeat tone he has taken since the week began, telling reporters that “I think we can still get there” on a deal to avert default, “and get there by June 1.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Finance declined to comment on Rhetorikken’s rhetoric.

Jordain Carney and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.

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