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Republican hard-liners halted business on the House floor Tuesday in a protest against Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt limit deal that signaled deepening division in the party.
The move by 11 House Republicans demonstrated McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) precarious hold on his party and the ultra-conservatives’ determination to use that leverage to obstruct any bipartisan coalition of moderates.
The group has decided to block any attempt to bring GOP bills to the floor by opposing votes to open debate. In this case, the move blocked debate on a bill to stop President Joe Biden’s administration from banning gas stoves.
On Tuesday evening, conservatives emerged from an hour-and-a-half meeting with McCarthy to say it was unclear when they would lift their blockade of House business.
It was the first time in more than two decades a speaker had been unable to pass a resolution opening debate on a bill on the House floor, according to C-Span.
“This is about making sure McCarthy and moderate Republicans don’t team up with moderate Democrats,” said Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), one of the dissident Republicans.
Buck and other hard-liners in the group said they plan to use that leverage to press for deeper spending cuts than called for in the debt limit deal.
The lawmakers involved in the protest said they currently don’t have enough support to replace McCarthy as speaker, but have found other ways to make life difficult for the speaker by blocking GOP bills. The defection of just five Republicans on a party-line vote can scuttle a measure.
“We’re going to do it more often,” said Ralph Norman (S.C.). He said the show of force was needed to get McCarthy to abide by commitments he made to conservatives to win the speakership in January.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.) denied that Republicans are in disarray and said he expects the power struggle to get resolved quickly.
“There are a few things we have to work through,” he said. “We have been having conversations about the appropriations process.” Erik Wasson and Billy House have the latest on the standoff.
- The House is back at noon and plans votes on two bills to preserve gas stoves.
- Senators convene at 10 a.m. to vote on Energy Department and judge nominees.
- The president has lunch with Vice President Kamala Harris at 12:15 p.m.
- Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a briefing at 1 p.m.
Bills Upcoming in Congress
Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said his panel will mark up legislation dealing with executive compensation in the banking industry before the July 4 recess.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is planning next week to mark up legislation to reauthorize the FAA, as negotiations over the bill are going “really well,” the panel’s top Democrat says.
New bipartisan Senate legislation would authorize millions more in funding annually over the next decade to improve at-risk watersheds in national forests.
UK, Ukraine & China
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will seek closer economic ties with the US during his first visit as leader to the White House, even as Biden’s administration maintains a freeze on talks on a free-trade agreement.
Biden said US assistance to Ukraine would continue after an explosion at a major dam in the south of the country flooded villages and threatened supplies of drinking water and electricity.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said the Biden administration is pursuing the right strategy on China by focusing on national security and working with allies and the business community.
The US Space Force is set to launch a constellation of satellites this summer to track Chinese or Russian space vehicles that can potentially disable or damage orbiting objects, the latest step in the burgeoning extra-terrestrial contest between superpowers.
Politics & Probes
Saying “different times call for different leadership,” former Vice President Mike Pence announced that he’s challenging his former boss for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie became the latest Republican to enter the 2024 presidential campaign, adding an ally-turned-critic of Donald Trump to an already crowded primary contest.
Prosecutors and attorneys representing defendants charged with participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have forged an unlikely collaboration in sorting through 5 million electronic files.
Recent rulings by the Supreme Court and a lower appellate panel may make it more difficult to bring charges related to suspected financial schemes including bank fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. Some defense attorneys see the decisions as a way out for their clients.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized Harlan Crow’s lawyers for refusing to cooperate with requests for information about the billionaire benefactor’s undisclosed gifts to Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and his family, calling their arguments “dangerous” and “undemocratic.”
The head of the Congressional Research Service will resign by end of the month, after facing claims of mismanagement at Capitol Hill’s in-house think tank.
What Else We’re Reading
Merck is facing an uphill battle arguing that it’s being forced into negotiations with the federal government, drug pricing analysts say following the company’s challenge to Biden’s landmark drug pricing law.
When developers want to put up a power line or lay a gas pipeline, they must run a regulatory gantlet that is so slow and convoluted that the clean energy and fossil fuel industries, along with Democrats and Republicans, are united in calling for reform.
West Coast Ports See Extended Disruption as Labor Talks Drag On
The biggest shipping gateways on the West Coast are enduring the longest labor-related disruptions since 2015 as talks between port employers and dockworkers close in on one year without a contract.
The announced deal of professional golf organizations, including the Saudi Arabia-connected LIV Golf, is already drawing scrutiny on Capitol Hill and may put the spotlight on the kingdom’s wide influence network.
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