Jun 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House grinds to halt as GOP rebels push McCarthy for new deal

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the Capitol on June 7, 2023. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

The House continued to postpone votes on Wednesday as a group of right-wing lawmakers pushed to renegotiate a deal they struck in January with Republican leadership.

Why it matters: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) detractors have the numbers to kill any efforts by leadership to pass party-line legislation, meaning they effectively control the House floor.

  • A predicted Wednesday afternoon vote on a measure the rebels killed on Tuesday came and went as lawmakers shuffled in and out of McCarthy's office.
  • House Minority Whip Katherine Clark's (D-Mass.) office advised members to "keep their schedule flexible."

What we're hearing: What began as a dispute over allegedly aggressive GOP leadership whip tactics on the debt ceiling has spiraled into a broader retribution over McCarthy's debt ceiling deal with Democrats.

  • Now the January rebels want to renegotiate the speakership deal, according to sources familiar with the matter.
  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Wednesday said of the debt ceiling bill, “That water is under the bridge." He added: "I’m just going to … keep moving forward."
  • The original 20 GOP rebels have added new members to their ranks, including Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who said of McCarthy on Tuesday: “Hopefully he enters into an agreement that is public, and that he abides by."

State of play: Sources told Axios it is unlikely a resolution will come together in time for votes to resume on Wednesday.

  • "I'm not going to say it's likely. We're still having conversations," House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said of votes on Wednesday, adding that he's "not sure" if a deal can come together by the end of the week.
  • "We're going to get it back on track," Scalise said. "Clearly there are still more conversations that need to be had."

What we're watching: Lawmakers signaled that securing assurances for the coming appropriations process will be a top priority after the debt ceiling bill capped 2024 spending at 2023 levels.

  • Buck said renewing the commitment in the January deal to cap spending at 2022 levels is a key demand of right-wingers.
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