A group of conservatives, still angry over the deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck with President Joe Biden to resolve the debt limit fight, blindsided Republican leaders Tuesday with a protest vote on the House floor.
About a dozen House Freedom Caucus members derailed their leadership’s plans to take up Republican legislation to impose new oversight on agency rules and prohibit the Biden administration from regulating gas stoves. The conservatives “voted against moving forward on a bill they support,” as Politico puts it, adding that some in the GOP worry that additional actions to undercut the speaker could follow what some Republican rebels indicated was a spontaneous revolt.
Conservatives still want to roll back discretionary spending to 2022 levels. Some Freedom Caucus members say McCarthy violated an agreement to insist on that in the debt limit deal.
“Today we took down the rule because we’re frustrated at the way this place is operating,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida told reporters, according to CNN. “We took a stand in January to end the era of the imperial speakership. We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal, and, you know, the answer for us is to reassert House conservatives as the appropriate coalition partner for our leadership, instead of them making common cause with Democrats.”
The last time the House voted down a procedural rule for debate on legislation was 2002, Politico reports, citing the Congressional Research Service.
Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News called it an “incredible embarrassment for the House Republican leadership” and a slap in the face to McCarthy and his leadership team.
Why it matters: “The revolt underscored the fragility of McCarthy’s narrow majority and the lingering tensions with the right-wing of his conference over the debt deal. But the protest also indicated that the members have not yet decided on whether to call for a vote ousting McCarthy from the speakership, something that would rip apart the House GOP and send the chamber into chaos,” CNN’s Manu Raju, Melanie Zanona and Morgan Rimmer write. “For now, the conservatives have settled on a strategy to scramble McCarthy’s legislative agenda until they believe he will listen to their list of demands.”