GOP-led House passes rules package after contentious speaker vote

The adopted rules package contains a series of rules changes sought by the conservative House Freedom Caucus

Updated: January 10, 2023 - 8:35am

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The Republican-controlled House on Monday passed a new rules package after several rounds of contentious votes last week to elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as speaker.

The rules will govern how the chamber will proceed this session. Some members over the weekend expressed optimism and others showed signs of trepidation but the package ultimately was approved 220-213.

The adopted rules package contains a series of rules changes sought by the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

“Congress has been broken for a long time. Over the years, a concentration of power within the Speaker’s Office has kept lawmakers on the sidelines from participating in the legislative process that would impact their communities. Lawmaking should be open to all Members, not just a select few, so that the best ideas win,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after the package passed.  

South Carolina GOP Rep. Nancy Mace said Sunday on CBS"Face the Nation" that "only one point" changed in the House rules package after 15 rounds of speaker votes — the so-called "motion to vacate" rule now allows any member to call a vote to remove the speaker.

"So my question really is today is what backroom deals were cut?" said Mace, adding that she was “on the fence" about supporting the rules package. She ultimately voted in favor of it. 

McCarthy had to make the vacate rule as easy as possible to trigger to get the roughly 20 House Republicans, among the most conservative in the conference, to vote for him as speaker.

Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales said the speaker vote was "the easiest vote we'll take in Congress," signaling the rules vote and others in which the GOP has only a narrow House majority will likely be rancorous. 

The Texas Republican said on Sunday that he planned to vote against the rules package because of a possible multibillion dollar defense spending cut. He voted against the package on Monday evening.

The House met at 5 p.m. Monday to begin consideration of the rules package. Following its passage, the House is also expected to take a vote on the repeal of the billions in IRS funding for the hiring of up to 87,000 agents.