What to Know in Washington: GOP Hard-Liners Hinder McCarthy

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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.

Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg
McCarthy speaks during a press conference in US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

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.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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