(CNN) – House Republicans approved a package of rules for the 118th Congress on Monday in what was the first test of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to navigate his slim Republican majority.
The rules were passed in a vote of 220–213, mostly along party lines, with Texas Republican Representative Tony Gonzales joining all Democrats in voting against the measure.
McCarthy and his allies had to struggle to secure enough support for a package of rules after McCarthy’s concessions to GOP hardliners to win the hammer last week, frustrating some centrist Republicans in the House of Representatives. With little margin for error – and the vote seen as McCarthy’s first test of his ability to govern – GOP leaders left little to chance.
GOP leaders lobbied Republicans who voiced their concerns, such as Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who boarded Monday after saying she was “on the fence” the day before.
After Republican foreign policy hawks protested the prospect of defense spending cuts as a result of McCarthy’s deal with hardliners, McCarthy’s allies took to the airwaves to try to clarify what was and wasn’t in the policy package, especially for defense spending.
Republican Party leaders are hoping to push the legislation through quickly and move to their legislative agenda, with a vote scheduled for Monday night following the passing of legislation for a bill to withdraw $80 billion in funding for Internal Revenue Service staff that was included in the Inflation Reduction Act, a massive the Social Appropriation Act passed by Democrats in the last Congress.
Still, the skirmish over House rules underscores the Herculean task McCarthy faces as House leader with a narrow Republican majority of four votes, which gives a small bloc of members on both sides of the Republican political spectrum that stands in the way. legislation.
Tensions are high at the GOP House Conference as lawmakers still do not know the full extent of McCarthy’s promises to his opponents that have not been made public in the House Rules package.
“Operating in a vacuum is not good,” one member told CNN. “We’ve Been Loyal and That’s a Slap”
Another member said: “The devil is in the details we don’t know.”
McCarthy did not say on Monday when he would reveal details of the side deals he made to become a speaker, annoying moderates at his conference. Many details – such as tying the debt ceiling increase to spending cuts and giving Freedom Caucus members more seats on key committees – have not been disclosed.
To reverse the GOP’s 20 blockades last week, McCarthy agreed to a series of concessions. This included restoring House rules so that one member could request a vote to remove a speaker. A California Republican has agreed to expand the mandate of a new special commission examining “weaponization” of the federal government to include examining “ongoing criminal investigations,” settling a showdown with the Biden administration and law enforcement over their criminal investigations, especially those of former President Donald Trump.
McCarthy also signed a pledge that the Republican-led House of Representatives would tie any increase in the debt ceiling to spending cuts and approve a budget capping discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels – which, if implemented, would undo the 2023 fiscal spending increases for both defense and non-defence spending defense from last month’s $1.7 trillion rollup.
Texas Representative Tony Gonzalez was the first Republican to defy the rules of the House of Representatives on Friday. He said on Fox News Monday morning that he remains no.
“I am against the rules for several different reasons. One is to cut defense spending, which I think is an absolutely terrible idea, and the other is to free up the chair. I mean, I don’t want to see us every two months being locked up,” Gonzalez said.
Mace said Sunday on the CBS show “Face the Nation” that she was “uncertain” about the rule package because it did not support “a small number of people trying to make a deal or do deals privately.” “. However, on Monday afternoon, Mace’s office said it supported the rule package.
“What I’m raising hell for is any potential behind-the-scenes deals,” Mace told reporters.
Republicans who backed a package of rules on Monday faced concessions McCarthy had to make to secure a speaker.
Rep. David Joyce, a moderate Republican from Ohio, told CNN that McCarthy should be concerned that one member could force a vote of no confidence in the speaker.
“I’m not a speaker. This concerns Kevin more than me, but it just brought it back to its original state. And I don’t think it’s going to change the way we do business here,” he said, adding that it should only be used in the most extreme circumstances.
Asked if everyone agreed, Joyce told CNN, “Probably not.”
Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told CNN: “I’m ready to cut spending and we have to do it.
McCarthy’s Republican allies sought to dismiss the idea that they would cut defense spending, claiming that domestic spending would be the target.
“There will be good talks, already had, that you can’t cut off the defense, right? It has to follow a very predictable trajectory,” said Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas. “We’ve massively increased spending on non-defence programs because that’s always the case, right? I think there’s a lot of work there.”
Republican Party leaders in the House of Representatives plan to hold a vote on the tax, abortion and energy bills this week, starting with Monday’s vote to roll back the IRS funding increases.
The bill is likely to pass the House along party lines, but will not be passed by the Senate with a Democratic majority.