House Republicans approved a package of rules for the 118th Congress on Monday, marking the first test of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to control his slim Republican majority.
McCarthy and his allies have been scrambling to ensure they have enough support for the rules package after McCarthy’s concessions to GOP hardliners to win the gavel last week frustrated some centrist House Republicans. With little room for error – and the vote seen as McCarthy’s first test of whether he can govern – GOP leaders have left little to chance.
GOP leaders have lobbied Republicans who have expressed doubts, such as Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who entered Monday after saying she was “on the fence” the day before.
After Republican foreign policy hawks protested the prospect of defense spending cuts as a result of McCarthy’s dealings with hardliners, McCarthy’s allies took to the airwaves to try to clarify what is and isn’t in the rulemaking package, particularly as it relates to spending for defense.
GOP leaders are hoping to quickly push the rules through their legislative agenda, with a vote scheduled for Monday night on the rules of an $80 billion refund bill to bolster the Internal Revenue Service that was included in the cuts bill inflation. , the massive welfare spending bill passed by Democrats in the last Congress.
But the row over House rules underscores the daunting task McCarthy faces as leader of a House with a slim four-vote Republican majority that gives a small bloc of members on both sides of the Republican political spectrum too much leverage to stand in the way. legislation.
McCarthy would not say Monday when he would release details of the side deals he made to become speaker that angered moderates at his conference. Many details — such as tying the debt ceiling increase to spending cuts and ensuring Freedom Caucus members have more seats on key committees — have not been released.
To flip 20 GOP last week, McCarthy agreed to a series of concessions. This included bringing back the Rules of the House so that one MP could vote to expel the speaker. California Republicans agreed to expand the mandate of a new select committee investigating the “weapons” of the federal government to include investigations into “ongoing criminal investigations” and to hold a showdown with the Biden administration and law enforcement over their criminal investigations, particularly those into former President Donald Trump .
McCarthy also signed a pledge that the Republican-led House of Representatives would pair any increase in the debt ceiling with spending cuts and pass a budget cap limiting discretionary spending to the fiscal year 2022 level — which, if implemented, would reduce spending increases for fiscal year 2023. defense spending and non-defense spending from last month’s $1.7 trillion omnibus package.
Texas Rep. Tony Gonzalez was the first Republican to oppose the House rules on Friday. He said Monday morning on Fox News that he remains a no.
“I’m against the rules for a few different reasons. One is to cut defense spending, I think it’s an absolutely terrible idea, the other is to vacate the seat. I mean, I don’t want to see us every two months.” to be on lockdown,” Gonzalez said.
Mace said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that she was “on the fence” about the rules package because she didn’t support “a small number of people trying to make a deal or deals for themselves privately. .” However, Mace’s office said Monday afternoon that it supported the rules package.
Republicans who supported the rules package on Monday grappled with the concessions McCarthy had to make to secure the speakership.
Rep. David Joyce, a moderate Republican from Ohio, told CNN that McCarthy should be concerned that a single member could force a vote of no confidence in the speaker.
“I’m not a speaker. So it’s more about Kevin than me, but it’s brought it back to the way it was. And I don’t think it’s going to change the way we do business here.” he said, adding that it should only be used in the most extreme circumstances.
Asked if everyone agreed, Joyce told CNN: “Probably not.”
Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told CNN: “I’m willing to cut spending and that’s what we have to do. I’m not willing to cut defense and that’s half of the discretionary budget.”
McCarthy’s Republican allies have tried to push back on the notion that he would cut defense spending, saying that domestic spending would be the target.
“It’s going to be a good conversation, there’s been, you can’t cut defense, right? It’s got to go on a very predictable trajectory,” said Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. “We’ve massively increased spending on non-defense programs, because that’s always the point, right? In my opinion, there’s a lot of work to be done.”
House GOP leaders plan to vote on a slew of bills this week on tax, abortion and energy reporting, starting with Monday’s vote to repeal the IRS funding hike.
The bill is likely to pass the House along party lines, but will not be considered by the Democratic-majority Senate.
This story and headline have been updated with additional information.
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