House of Representatives Faces Standstill as Conservatives Block Republican Bills
The House of Representatives was forced into an early recess last week after a group of Republicans blocked legislative proceedings, upending a normally procedural vote and defeating bills aimed at protecting gas stoves. It was the first time in two decades that a majority party watched its own members vote with the minority to defeat a bill at that procedural stage. The group of 11 conservatives was furious with how Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., handled debt limit negotiations with President Biden.
One GOP lawmaker told Fox News Digital on Monday morning that he did not hear from McCarthy over the weekend, but noted the speaker was likely traveling. “Our concerns over spending remain unresolved,” the GOP lawmaker told Fox News Digital Monday morning. The conservatives are seeking two key assurances from McCarthy in the upcoming appropriations process. One is a promise to cap federal spending at fiscal year 2022 levels, which is below the limit agreed upon by McCarthy and Biden in the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act.
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A 2022 spending cap was the GOP’s original goal when it passed its first debt limit bill, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, along party lines in April. Several conservatives staging the blockade, who also voted against the bipartisan compromise, indicated that they view anything less than the GOP bill as a loss. GOP rebels also want a commitment to stop spending on programs whose authorization has run out, which was reiterated over the weekend by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. In a speech over the weekend, Buck explained that there were 11,118 programs in the federal government that are unauthorized.
Conservatives have been blocking House proceedings for a week, calling for written assurances from McCarthy that conservatives would get more of a voice in the legislative process. When lodging their protest last week, the 11 lawmakers also accused GOP leadership of threatening Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., by blocking his pro-Second Amendment legislation from the House floor because of his earlier efforts to take down the debt limit bill. Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., denied GOP leaders made that move and insisted that Clyde was informed his bill may not have the votes to pass.
The lawmakers are now set to consider the bill on Tuesday, which is aimed at rolling back a Biden administration rule on pistol braces. In a sign of optimism on Sunday night, Scalise’s office indicated that the two gas stove bills derailed last week would be back on the House floor for a vote sometime in the coming days. House leaders scheduled a round of uncontroversial and bipartisan votes for Monday night, including a resolution to condemn Russia’s detention of Americans Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich.
McCarthy appeared on “Sunday Night in America” with Trey Gowdy and re-upped calls for unity while downplaying the Freedom Caucus’ role in the rebellion. “Anybody in the conference can do this to one another, and that’s not a good place to be,” he said. “So hopefully we were able to work this out, move forward and really come back with a lot of that conservative agenda that we’ve been very successful [with].”
The House will try to return to work on Monday in hopes of putting an end to the standoff. Conservatives are seeking a commitment from McCarthy to end the debt limit negotiations with President Biden and curb federal spending. However, it remains to be seen whether or not McCarthy will be able to appease the conservative lawmakers and put an end to the blockade.