McCarthy comes to agreement with conservative holdouts to resume House business

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) made his comment on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during an appearance on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik and AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

McCarthy comes to agreement with conservative holdouts to resume House business

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After meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a coalition of members who blocked the gas stove bill from the floor announced they will now support the rule on the legislation, allowing the House to start conducting business again.

After holding the House floor hostage for just under a week, some of the holdouts said they had come to an understanding with McCarthy to renegotiate the power-sharing agreement he entered into with them during the speaker battle in January and on spending levels that will allow them to stop blocking legislation on the floor.

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Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), who sits on the Rules Committee and was one of the members who blocked the gas stove bill, said the rule for that measure will now be combined with the rule for Rep. Andrew Clyde’s (R-GA) pistol brace bill, which has become a major point of contention.

“It’s very important to us to move the pistol brace legislation,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said. “One of the reasons we’re here is because the pistol brace legislation was taken hostage as an act of retribution and retaliation, and one of the very positive and productive features of our discussion is we’ve been able to liberate the pistol brace legislation.”

Clyde’s pistol brace legislation became a sticking point for members after it was found out House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) threatened Clyde, saying if he didn’t vote for the rule on the debt ceiling bill, then it would be difficult for him to get his bill to the floor.

Standing outside McCarthy’s office with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), Eli Crane (R-AZ), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Gaetz said McCarthy is their preferred person to lead the Republican Conference as speaker, but he has to stay true to his word, and that is why they plan to renegotiate the agreement “so that what happened on the debt ceiling vote” will never happen again.

“Many of us feel like the promises that were made in January were not kept, but now we want to work on an accountability regime and a power-sharing agreement that is even more durable than that which we built in January,” Gaetz said. “We reiterated to Speaker McCarthy that he is our preferred coalition partner, but we want to be his preferred coalition partner. And it cannot abide that we are the coalition partner on the frivolous and Jeffries is the coalition partner on the substantive.”

McCarthy didn’t confirm whether or not he agreed with the holdouts to renegotiate the power-sharing agreement.

“I don’t know that there’s anything in writing here. The only thing we agreed to is that we’ll sit down and talk more in the process,” McCarthy said.

In addition, Gaetz said spending levels must be brought down to fiscal 2022 levels during the appropriations process.

This includes going through with all 12 appropriations bills and working to get spending below the set caps to fiscal 2022 levels. And if McCarthy puts up any omnibus or minibus packages with a continuing resolution, that will show that their “efforts to change this place had failed,” Gaetz said.

McCarthy said he wouldn’t put an omnibus package on the floor and said he’s had that stance since before he was speaker.

This tentative agreement allows the House to start moving legislation on the floor again after it had been stalled for nearly a week. The House will not vote on Monday and will move the rule on Tuesday, McCarthy said.

Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) said it’s hard to understand why some people vote against the rule when they have nothing against it or the bill it’s attached to. But, he thinks people are “getting a lesson in the importance” of voting for the rules and hope that it will “sober some people up.”

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While it is abnormal and a break from historical norms for members to buck their party and vote against rules on the floor, Crane, a freshman, said he doesn’t care if it’s a break from tradition because he was sent here to change Congress, not keep the status quo.

“I guarantee if you went out to Arizona, Nebraska, and Mississippi and you pulled 1,000 people, I guarantee that 99% of them would have no idea what a rule is, nor would they care,” Crane said. “They want us to do a myriad of different things this town refuses to do, and so they expect us, the people that they send to represent them, to do everything we possibly can and use every tool in our toolbox to get those things done.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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