Scoop: GOP plans effort to sabotage Inflation Reduction Act
House Republicans are planning to try to open up Democrats' $740 billion tax, climate and health care bill to a legal challenge after it passes, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The move is Republicans' way of showing their base that they're going to great lengths to kill the legislation, which is likely to be unanimously opposed by House Republicans.
- "I would be shocked if anybody [in the GOP] voted for it," said Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), the House Republican chief deputy whip.
Driving the news: Republicans, led by members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, plan to get "as many members as possible to vote by proxy" in order to deny Democrats a physical quorum, two senior Republican aides told Axios.
- The bill would still pass, but Republicans hope a company affected by the tax provisions in the bill will then sue to challenge the law's constitutionality.
- Fueling their plan is the fact that so many members are voting by proxy: There were 187 active proxy letters as of Friday afternoon, according to the House Clerk's office.
Yes, but: One aide stressed that, as of early Friday evening, the plan was not sure to go ahead as staffers continued to strategize and try to whip enough members into participating.
- They added that, if the effort falls apart, Republican members will likely vote how they initially planned to.
Context: The Constitution requires Congress to have a simple majority of its members present to pass legislation — in other words, a quorum.
- However, the House passed a resolution at the start of the 117th Congress that stipulates proxy votes count toward that quorum.
Flashback: The Supreme Court in January declined to hear a challenge to proxy voting brought by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), leaving in place a lower court ruling that the House's ability to make its own rules under the Constitution's speech or debate clause is not subject to judicial review.
- However, one of the aides noted that a court has not weighed in on whether proxy votes count toward a quorum under the Constitution — buoying their hope that the matter could at least be adjudicated in court.
The other side: Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told Axios in a statement, "Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have clearly ruled that the House resolution establishing proxy voting is a legislative act that is covered by Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause."
- "This is utterly pointless theatrics from a party caught in a toxic MAGA echo chamber and struggling to explain its defense of wealthy tax cheats and Big Pharma profits to the public."