House Republicans divided over gathering focused on party unity

House Republicans Face Division at Unity Summit

**Key Takeaways**

– Rep. Ken Buck from Colorado announced his resignation from Congress, expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

– The control of the House by the far-right Republican Conference has significantly slowed legislative progress, leading to an increase in retirements and difficulties in completing basic tasks.

– This period is being described as one of the least productive and most chaotic in decades, with some even calling it the worst Congress ever.

– The House Republican Conference attempted to unify its members with an annual retreat at a luxury resort in West Virginia, but attendance was low.

– Less than half of the Republican majority confirmed their attendance for the retreat, highlighting divisions within the party.

– Some members expressed extreme reluctance to attend, with one preferring a fictional dinner with Hannibal Lecter over attending the retreat.

– The retreat faced further setbacks with key speakers, including Larry Kudlow and Donald Trump, not participating as expected.

– A report described the retreat as resembling a dysfunctional family vacation, with some members opting for personal activities over attendance.

– The efforts to unify the Republican Conference at this retreat were unsuccessful, indicating ongoing challenges within the party.

After Rep. Ken Buck from Colorado made a surprise announcement about leaving Congress, he shared with journalists, “This place keeps going downhill and I don’t need to spend more time here.”

This feeling is not rare. Ever since the far-right faction of the House Republicans took over, the pace of legislative work has slowed to a crawl, a situation not seen in almost a hundred years. More politicians are retiring. Completing even the simplest tasks has become a struggle for lawmakers. Many argue this could be the least effective Congress in history. A recent analysis by Punchbowl News concluded, “We’re witnessing the most disorganized, inefficient, and ineffective majority in decades of Congressional coverage.”

Amidst these challenges, the House Republican Conference departed Washington D.C. this week for their yearly retreat, this time at a historic luxury resort in West Virginia. An Axios report pointed out that the retreat aims to bring unity to the group.

Achieving unity might have been easier if more GOP members had decided to attend. According to Roll Call, the retreat’s first agenda item was a press conference about expanding the majority, yet less than half of that majority had confirmed their attendance. A spokesperson for the Congressional Institute, which organizes the Republican Issues Conference, mentioned that just over 100 out of the 218-member majority had RSVP’d their attendance.

One lawmaker, speaking to Axios and Politico, made a stark comparison about the retreat, saying, “I’d rather sit down with Hannibal Lecter and eat my own liver.”

In essence, the House Republican Conference is divided over an event meant to bring them together.

Further complicating matters, Roll Call reported that Larry Kudlow, scheduled for a keynote speech at the retreat, canceled last minute. Notably, Donald Trump also did not attend.

A report by Semafor likened the retreat to a “dysfunctional family vacation,” citing a Florida Republican who chose to skip the retreat in favor of cleaning his boat.

Clearly, the party leaders’ attempts at “unifying the conference” will need another strategy moving forward.