McCarthy and his allies successfully negotiated a deal late last week that put the gavel in their hands. But the camaraderie between more moderate Republicans and the hard-right wing of the party was tested for the first time on Monday evening, as several Republicans objected to the package of rules over McCarthy’s concerns. accepted too much power to conservative holdouts in an effort to win the speakership.
The drawn-out battle to elect McCarthy brought a difficult realization to many Republicans at the convention: Any conversation on policy and the future of the party is going to be equally contentious.
Republicans knew that a Razor-thin majority may be at risk obtaining consensus to enact full policy agenda he proposed to midterms, But last week’s drama painted a more realistic picture for House Republicans of how difficult it will be to advance a consensus.
“Democracy and governance can be messy,” Rep. said Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who chaired the session on Monday. “We have some big challenges ahead of us on every front. So, trying to find consensus as a party or in a bipartisan way will be the greatest test of leadership we’ve seen in a long time.
While Republicans have been arguing publicly that their sometimes vicious open debate was good for democracy, privately they acknowledge that ongoing member-on-member infighting can jeopardize major legislation, such as the bill. Those who fund the government and increase the debt limit of the country. How Republicans handle internal dynamics and the impact on legislation could set the stage for a brutal 2024 ElectionBecause Democrats will almost certainly look to uncover divisions among voters.
The top concern for many Republicans is a “motion to vacate” provision in the rules package, which details a process that allows House members to recall the speaker. The Conservative wing wanted to change the number of votes needed to bring that motion through. McCarthy’s aides said last month that they would not entertain that option, in part to protect him from members who might try to oust him. But in a bid to gain support, McCarthy acknowledged the issue, first changed the rule to allow five members to make the motion, then dropped that limit to one last week.
The point, however, is that the rule allows anyone, including Democrats, to call for a motion to expel the speaker. The rule has been in place for more than a century, but its effectiveness has been tested by former Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and former Speaker John A. According to three people familiar with the decision, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, the battle for each other’s leadership — including over a motion to vacate — is meant to protect the institution.
No such understanding is expected between McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.).
“When you open Pandora’s box, sometimes you don’t realize what will happen tomorrow or next week or next month,” said Rep. Tony Gonzales (Tex.), who voted against the rule package. He was the only Republican. “Today’s vote wasn’t just about the whole package, it’s you know what the next hurdle looks like?”
The new rules also mandate an up-and-down vote to raise the debt limit, so the speaker cannot put the debt limit vote into a comprehensive bill. The rules also place restrictions on raising government spending and raising taxes, and ensure that bills largely cover a single issue rather than comprehensive legislation.
“Anything that takes more power out of leadership and gives more capability to rank-and-file members is going to be really good for our convention,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (RN.D.).
Republicans will also create a new select subcommittee under the Judiciary Committee that will investigate what they are describing as the weaponization of the federal government. The mandate will be broad and the Justice Department is expected to join the investigation. January 6, 2021, assaulting and indicting over 900 people who stormed the Capitol that day. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who is both a McCarthy ally and a member of the Freedom Caucus, will chair the committee and has vowed aggressive oversight of the Biden administration.
The package of rules would also get rid of proxy voting, a pandemic-era exception allowing members to vote remotely, which Republicans have long railed against.
The House passed the rules package largely along party lines by a 220-213 vote, with Gonzales voting against it and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) losing the vote. Crenshaw lost his bid to become chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) earlier in the day in a move watched by some lawmakers and allies. As requested by the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus.
In another major personnel decision, McCarthy selected Representative Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) as his nominee to the Steering Committee, which decides who runs the other House committees. Donalds, a member of the Freedom Caucus, was nominated by some members on the right to be speaker, and the move was a central demand of members on the right.
While the package of rules largely kept Republicans on the same page, much consternation exists over the closed-door “gentlemen’s agreement” that helped broker a deal for 15 holdouts to endorse McCarthy for the speakership. Of. Those details were not made public and will not be included in the congressional record, but will be closely watched by the members who signed off on the plan – McCarthy, his closest allies, some moderates and holdouts.
Those concessions place limits on new spending, including defense spending, which has disappointed some defense hawks. The leadership also agreed to prioritize voting on an aggressive border security bill that would build a wall along the southern border, according to several aides and members of Congress familiar with the deal. The House will also vote on legislation to establish term limits for members to serve six terms or 12 years, a proposal that would require a constitutional amendment.
Republicans who were eager to govern were angered by how the terms of the agreements Can set a precedent by making the majority of the house ineffective. While some Republicans acknowledge that backroom dealings may not become the status quo, concerns that the leadership is veering to the hard right have led most of them to drop out of the idea.
“We spent four days holding up the speaker vote to get a change on the motion to vacate as part of the rules, and now there are rumors of backroom deals being cut with a handful of members. Why is it okay to cut deals secretly for some people far away?” said Rep. Nancy Mays (RS.C.), who threatened to vote against the rule package. But in the end supported it.
Many Republicans were concerned that the rules and the separate agreement would lead to cuts in defense spending, which along with domestic spending cuts to curb the national debt are demands of the hard right.
Gonzales said he would vote against the package of regulations for that reason and concerns over border security legislation — supported by his fellow Republican Texans — that he has previously denounced as dead on arrival because it affects immigration as a whole. Doesn’t have a vision for improvement.
“If this insurrection decides to put anti-immigrant legislation on the caucus floor and disguise it as border security policy, it’s not going to fly, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that happens.” This type of legislation fails.” floor,” Gonzales said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Moderate Republicans involved in the talks last week insisted that the package of rules should not be objected to because it clearly serves as the conservative principles that will guide them through a majority vote.
“This rule package is really about Republican unity,” Rep. Dusty Johnson (RS.D.), who was part of the negotiations last week, said before its passage. “Each one of these big conservative victories, Mr. President — and more like him — were endorsed by the Republican convention long before last week’s enthusiasm.”
Republicans were largely united in their defense for the rules package, arguing against Democrats who sought to label the GOP as disorganized and governed by a minority within their convention. From moderates like Johnson to Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.), who was one of the holdouts last week, many in the GOP pushed for adoption because it promises to return power to committees and members that the convention has been watching. Was.
Roy said, “I’m pleased to talk about the package of rules that has been drafted by the Republican majority and that I think represents a fundamental transformation of this House so that the people are represented by their representatives.” Can go.” “that’s the point.”
More than half of the GOP convention has never served in the majority and is seeing the House through Pelosi’s tightly controlled floor, which allowed rank-and-file members to make changes to bills once they reach the floor. Offer not allowed.
Armstrong said, “Our conference will not survive a 1,200-page book that comes out of a speaker’s copier at midnight and goes to the floor at noon.” “No speaker will survive with our Republican convention.”
Jacqueline Alemany and Liz Goodwin contributed to this report.