What to Know in Washington: McCarthy, Hard-Liner Fight Continues

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For weeks Speaker Kevin McCarthy couldn’t find a microphone he didn’t like. But faced with a revolt on his right flank, the California Republican is suddenly silent.

On Thursday, McCarthy gave the slip to reporters, who’ve been hanging on every turn in his fight with ultra-conservatives over his deal with President Joe Biden to avert a US debt default.

An aide told the assembled reporters on the Capitol’s second floor the speaker left and wasn’t coming back. The crowd dispersed, only for McCarthy to emerge from a downstairs exit several minutes later.

“I think we’re making a lot of progress,” McCarthy said as he brusquely walked away from two reporters who spotted him.

Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg

The camera-friendly speaker’s attempt at a stealth getaway is the latest sign of trouble for McCarthy, who won the gavel in January after 15 rounds of voting.

Eleven dissident Republicans on Tuesday used a procedural vote on a GOP-backed bill to blockade the House floor. By Wednesday night, McCarthy, unable to quell the rebellion, dismissed lawmakers for the week.

The embarrassing episode raises questions about the fate of an expected Ukraine aid package later this year and spending bills to keep the government running past Sept. 30 — all of which will require compromise with Democrats that will further divide his party.

“House leadership couldn’t hold the line. Now we hold the floor,” tweeted one of the defiant rebels, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), on Wednesday.

Gaetz and other conservatives said McCarthy abandoned many of their demands in the debt deal. Some accused leadership of strong-arming Republicans into voting for the deal, and McCarthy of backtracking on promises he made to win the gavel in January.

Talks between McCarthy, who said he was “blindsided,” and the dissidents continued into Thursday with no resolution.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who has been involved in the discussions, had little to say Thursday.

“Different members have different concerns,” Perry said, as he left the speaker’s suite of offices. Perry wasn’t one of the 11 dissidents, but most are members of his caucus. Billy House and Steven T. Dennis follow the latest in the split.


  • The House and Senate are scheduled to return Monday.


  • The president and first lady depart the White House at 10 a.m. to travel to Elm City, North Carolina.
  • At 1:10 p.m., the president and first lady tour Nash Community College. At 1:30 p.m., they take part in a discussion about career-connected learning and workforce training programs.
  • At 4:15 p.m., the president and first lady meet with service members and their families, and deliver remarks at a Joining Forces event in Fort Liberty, North Carolina.
  • The president and first lady return to the White House at 9:45 p.m.

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Around the Administration

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Biden Immigration Officials’ Exits Leave DHS With Leadership Gap

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FAA Selects Transportation Official Trottenberg as Interim Chief

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Fight Over DC Airport Flights Pits Airlines Against Each Other

United Airlines warned Thursday that expanding the number of long-distance flights available at Washington Reagan National Airport would increase passenger delays and congestion.

Pentagon Readies New $2 Billion Ukraine Air Defense Package

The Pentagon is set to announce as early as today a long-term arms package for Ukraine heavy on air defense munitions valued at more than $2 billion, according to administration officials.

Ukraine’s New Tanks See Action as Counteroffensive Underway

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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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