McCarthy, conservatives agree on how House will move forward on bills

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been trying to clear up disagreements with more conservative members of Congress.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks to reporters.
Posted at 9:45 PM, Jun 12, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appeared Monday to have resolved, for now, an impasse with some of the more conservative members of his caucus who had brought the chamber to a standstill last week.

McCarthy met with nearly a dozen lawmakers in his office in an effort to quell a revolt and jump start various priorities that had stalled last week amid the GOP infighting. He called it a productive meeting where "everybody’s attitude was, ‘How do we find where we all work together?’” 

McCarthy promised more meetings with last week’s holdouts and a focus on reducing federal spending in the weeks ahead. "We’ve got a lot more victories for the American people we want to fight for, and we’re only able to achieve it if we stick together," he told reporters.

Last week, barely a dozen Republicans, mainly members of the House Freedom Caucus, shuttered House business in protest of McCarthy’s leadership. Votes on a pair of pro-gas stove bills important to GOP activists could not be taken. 

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At the heart of their displeasure was a compromise that McCarthy struck with President Joe Biden on suspending the debt ceiling, which they viewed as inadequately cutting spending. 

While McCarthy expressed confidence the House would take up those bills this week, he also acknowledged he could face similar obstacles in the future in which members of his own party oppose routine procedural votes that prevent the House from taking up various GOP priorities. 

Last week's procedural rule vote was the first to fail in nearly two decades. “Perhaps we’ll be back here next week,” warned Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., as he exited the meeting with McCarthy.

"You know, each day there’s another challenge. I just wake up every morning, pray for the patience of Job and find a solution and move forward,” McCarthy said of the potential threat from his right flank.

Gaetz said there was an agreement from McCarthy to further look at spending on various federal boards, commissions and other entities that could be cut back to save money. 

But the most important message from the holdouts was that they need to see progress from McCarthy and the leadership team each week on spending priorities, or “the floor will stop, the functions will stop,” said Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.