WASHINGTON — The group of House Republicans that blocked votes on symbolic legislation last week will stand down on Tuesday, at least temporarily.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) won them over in part through a mundane agreement combining a procedural motion setting up a delayed vote on gas stoves with one for a vote on pistol braces.
McCarthy also apparently said he’d seek lower federal spending this fall — which would mean undoing a recent deal with Democrats that set spending for the next two years.
It’s likely an undeliverable promise. Democrats control the Senate and the White House, and probably won’t vote for further reductions in federal spending on top of what President Joe Biden already agreed to in the debt ceiling negotiations that wrapped up earlier this month.
If the House and Senate can’t agree on government funding before October, then the government could partially shut down — a future point of leverage for the far right, or at least a way to win attention for themselves.
“We’re trying to get on the same team as Republicans to focus on spending cuts,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Tuesday after emerging from a party meeting in the Capitol. “I don’t think anybody wants a shutdown.”
The House typically votes on several bills each week when lawmakers are in Washington, but Gaetz and 10 other Republicans brought the chamber to a standstill a week ago by voting against a procedural resolution known as a rule. The hard-liners, mostly members of the House Freedom Caucus, opposed the rule as payback for McCarthy’s debt ceiling deal with Democrats. Rules usually pass with party-line votes.
Another of the noes, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), said he wanted more conservative Republicans represented in ad-hoc negotiations like that one between a handful of House Republicans and the White House that resolved the debt ceiling standoff.
“I would like to see people with fiscal restraint at the table,” Burchett told HuffPost.
Other members upset with their leadership wouldn’t commit to allowing votes on legislation beyond Tuesday.
“Time will tell,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Republican majority seems increasingly frustrated that such a small faction of their 222 members has been holding up the entire House. Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) reportedly lambasted them during their meeting on Tuesday, saying his daughter was dying of cancer and he “shows up to work every fucking day.”
“You don’t always get everything that you want and so the fact that we have some that are just obsessing over what they didn’t get several weeks ago with the debt ceiling, it’s unfortunate,” Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) told HuffPost.
Jonathan Nicholson contributed reporting.