As the U.S. government hangs at the cliff of a debt default that economists say might crash the global economy, House Republicans auctioned off a used cherry-flavored chapstick that had once belonged to Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The auction, which took 15 minutes and raised money for a Republican campaign fund, was ultimately won by Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The cherry chapstick in question was a commemorative campaign chapstick for Florida Congressman Aaron Bean. Following her successful bid, Greene posed for a photo with Bean and the chapstick, which quickly spread on social media.
The auction appears to have been a lighthearted joke to fund a general Republican campaign fund. Reportedly, Greene only entered the auction when McCarthy threw in a campaign fundraising stop in the district of whoever won the chapstick.
The relationship between McCarthy and Greene is important for both individuals politically. During McCarthy's unprecedentedly difficult election as Speaker, Greene's support on his far-right flank notably helped put him over the top. In return, McCarthy has given Greene more influence and power.
At the moment, McCarthy is negotiating with President Joe Biden to make a deal in order to prevent a default, but little progress has been made. Republicans are asking for cuts to programs like food stamps and new paperwork requirements for welfare in return for renewing the debt ceiling.
Many argue that negotiations are slowed down by McCarthy's inability to rein in his more far-right members or make sure his caucus will vote for a compromise deal.
As the news spread throughout the day, Democrats then took advantage of the chapstick incident to mock Republicans in the wake of the contentious political situation.
The chapstick entertained many across the political spectrum while also stirring up some negative reactions on social media over its silliness. After auctioning the chapstick, the Republican caucus reportedly continued to plan for debt ceiling negotiations that are still ongoing.
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