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Smoke-Free Capitol: A Healthier Environment For All

Julius Caesar has secret students in Washington D.C. It’s just a guess, but after watching this week’s carnival in the House of Representatives, you might think the guess is true.

More Than 2,060 Years Ago

More than 2,060 years ago, when the Roman military man ruled the largest empire the world had ever seen, he resorted to an essential Latin maxim in the spheres of power: “divide et impera”. Today, the fracture within the Republican Party seems to have been drawn by Julius Caesar himself. The majority party was unable to name a leader on the first ballot of the new Congress.

That hadn’t happened since 1923. Now, at the start of 2023, a small group of far-right congressmen, 20 in all, all supporters of former President Trump, made their disagreements known, voted against the rest of the party and boycotted the leadership’s plans. . Not once, not twice, not three times. 11 rounds of voting in total as of this writing, and Republican Kevin McCarthy hasn’t gotten enough votes to win the House of Representatives Presidency.

This is all reminiscent of a papal conclave, only there’s no smoke coming out of the Capitol (even though the house is on fire). A centuries-old ritual of political negotiation. A gritty battle for power and public humiliation, which Washington so relishes. Thus begins the new year in the United States.

The saga goes beyond the political spectacle. Without a Speaker, or President, in the House of Representatives, new congressmen cannot be sworn in, committees cannot begin to operate, and in plenary it is impossible to legislate. In essence, Americans are not represented at this time.

“The Republican party is playing with fire,” María Elvira Salazar, a Florida Republican, told us in an interview with Noticias Telemundo. In the halls of Congress there was an air of intrigue and frustration.

Outside, winter has been kinder these days. On the steps of the Capitol, that imposing stone dome in the center of it all, we meet Congressman Chip Roy of Texas. He is one of the 20 who refuse to give in: “We do it for the good of the country,” he assured passionately. “We have to clean up the swamp in this city.”

Midterm Elections in November 2022

After the midterm elections in November 2022, on one side of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Republicans have control of the House of Representatives and the Democrats maintain dominance of the Senate; on the other side, a Democratic president lives in the White House. The government is divided.

Some anticipate this week’s historic disagreement will be just the beginning of a stalemate in Washington, D.C. It’s true: nothing encouraging for the start of a new year.

I would like to have written about something other than Julius Caesar, politics and his staging, but for now a text on the purposes of 2023 will have to wait. What do we do to him? This is how the turn of the sun starts on this side of the river, and this is how this column also begins. I hope we join each other every Friday.

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