Republican hardliners withdraw from the House blockade


WASHINGTON — The group of Republicans in the House of Representatives that blocked the vote on token legislation last week will resign, at least temporarily, on Tuesday.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) won them over in part with a banal agreement that combined a procedural motion to introduce a delayed vote on gas stoves with a motion to vote on gun mounts.

McCarthy also apparently said he would be targeting lower federal spending this fall — which would mean he would reverse a recent deal with Democrats that fixed spending for the next two years.

It’s probably an impossible promise. Democrats control the Senate and White House and are unlikely to vote for further federal spending cuts on top of what President Joe Biden already agreed to in debt ceiling negotiations concluded earlier this month.

If the House and Senate can’t agree on state funding before October, the government could partially shut down – a future lever for the far right, or at least a way to garner attention.

“We’re trying to be on the same team as the Republicans and to focus on spending cuts,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) said Tuesday after coming from a party convention in the Capitol. “I don’t think anyone wants a shutdown.”

Normally, the House of Representatives votes on several bills each week when lawmakers are in Washington, but Gaetz and ten other Republicans do brought the chamber to a standstill a week ago by voting against a procedural order referred to as a rule. Hardliners, most notably members of the House Freedom Caucus, rejected the rule as a payback for McCarthy’s debt ceiling agreement with the Democrats. Rules are usually passed with votes on the party line.

Another no-candidate, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), said he wanted more conservative Republicans to be represented in ad hoc negotiations, like the one between a handful of Republicans in the House of Representatives and the White House, where the standoff on the debt ceiling was resolved.

“I’d like to see people at the table with fiscal restraint,” Burchett told HuffPost.

Other members, angered by her leadership, did not want to commit to allowing votes on the legislation beyond Tuesday.

“Time will tell,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (RS.C.).

Meanwhile, the rest of the Republican majority seems increasingly frustrated that such a small fraction of their 222 members has held up the entire House of Representatives. MP Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) allegedly berated her during their meeting on Tuesday, saying his daughter was dying of cancer and that he came to work “every freaking day”.

“You don’t always get everything you want, so the fact that there are some who are just obsessing over what they didn’t get with the debt ceiling a few weeks ago is unfortunate,” said Rep. Glenn Thompson (R -Pa.) told HuffPost.

Jonathan Nicholson contributed coverage.

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