House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) canceled votes for the rest of the week and sent lawmakers home for the weekend, after a revolt by 11 members of the House Freedom Caucus banded together to grind proceedings to a halt in protest of the speaker caving to Democrats during last week’s compromise to raise the debt ceiling.
“There’s a little chaos going on,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday evening at the Capitol, shortly after discussions with the hard-liners went nowhere.
“This is the difficulty,” said McCarthy, adding “Some of these members don’t know what to ask for.”
Tuesday marked the first time in more than two decades that a speaker had been unable to muster the votes for a procedural step to begin debate on a bill on the House floor, according to C-Span. With the 11 GOP defections, and Democrats also voting against the procedural measure to advance bills, it failed on a 206-220 vote.
McCarthy mostly projected his customary optimism, predicting that the two sides would resolve their differences soon. Yet he showed flashes of frustration during the day and admitted the protest took him by surprise. –Bloomberg
“I feel blindsided,” McCarthy told reporters, apparently oblivious to the fact that breaking the very promises that got him elected Speaker might have consequences.
“Five people can create problems,” he continued. “You’re not going to get 100% of what you want — so you can’t take hostages.”
The Epoch Times notes the GOP hardliners’ grievances;
The conservative group’s grievances centered around what they claim are forceful tactics by the GOP leadership team and a failure to honor agreements made with them during McCarthy’s election as speaker.
McCarthy made concessions to the hardliners during his challenging 15-ballot election as speaker. Some of those hardliners later took part in the procedural revolt on Tuesday. They claim that McCarthy reneged on his commitments regarding the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
McCarthy expressed confidence in his speakership on Wednesday night, saying that he expected challenges from “a small majority” of outspoken members with “strong opinions” who understand media tactics. He emphasized the need for unity among Republicans while acknowledging the importance of listening to and respecting different perspectives.
“I will listen to them. I will respect them all. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to come together as one,” he said.
When questioned about frustrations among other Republican lawmakers regarding the delay caused by the House Freedom Caucus members, McCarthy shifted the focus to his concerns about government interference in dictating Americans’ use of gas stoves.
He suggested that the situation wouldn’t have arisen without the Biden administration, saying, “It’s weird that you even have to have this [bill].”
He also expressed doubt that the 11 members, mostly from the House Freedom Caucus, truly wanted to align themselves with Biden’s approach of “dictat[ing] to the American public what type of stove they can have.”
As previously reported by The Epoch Times, there have been complaints from congressional lawmakers about alleged pressure tactics and threats of retaliation against members who voted against the debt limit bill, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) claimed that GOP House leaders warned him that it would be challenging to advance a bill he sponsored if he voted against the act. However, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) denied that any such threat was made.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) claimed that Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) faced “harassment” from multiple members in an effort to influence her vote.
A Capitol Hill staffer familiar with GOP leadership stated that no coercive tactics originated from McCarthy.