On Tuesday (June 6), 19 House conservatives joined all Democrats in a rare move to block GOP bills to protect gas stoves over the debt ceiling deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) cut with President Joe Biden.
The procedural vote was rejected 206-220, a move that stunned longtime lawmakers and reporters who had not seen a rules vote — a procedure usually supported by the majority party — rejected in more than two decades.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus, along with conservative ally Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), gathered on the Capitol steps after the vote to condemn McCarthy’s deal to raise the debt ceiling.
The group had warned that all Republican legislation could stall if internal issues weren’t resolved.
Hard-right lawmakers accused Republican leaders of retaliating against one of their representatives, Andrew Clyde (R-GA).
They said GOP leaders had told Clyde that his bill to protect gun stabilizers would not come up for debate this week because he voted against the debt ceiling bill last week.
Gaetz, flanked by other hard-right Republicans, revealed that the group had rejected the bill because they were “frustrated by the way this place is operating,” adding that they had pursued ending “the era of the imperial speakership” in January.
Gaetz expressed concern that the “fundamental commitments” allowing McCarthy to be Speaker had been “violated” by the agreement he reached on the debt ceiling.
The Florida Republican claimed that the group had resorted to “reassert[ing] House conservatives as the appropriate coalition partner” for GOP leadership “instead of them making common cause with Democrats.”
Tuesday’s rules battle will create more headaches for McCarthy — and more uncertainty about his political future, less than six months into his tenure as Speaker.