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Hot Stove: House conservatives revolt against McCarthy over debt deal shortcomings

Those lawmakers, Gaetz said, have concerns those promises "have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal."

Published: June 6, 2023 11:24pm

House conservatives frustrated with the terms of a debt-ceiling deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated with President Joe Biden have begun to act on their frustrations, upending key votes in protest of the California Republican's leadership of their GOP conference. 

Eleven Republican lawmakers, most of whom are members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, voted Tuesday with Democrats to block the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act from proceeding to debate, marking the first time in more than 20 years that a rule has failed to advance in the chamber.

"We took down the rule because we're frustrated at the way this place is operating," said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, an ally of the caucus, after stopping progress on the hot-button conservative legislation.

McCarthy secured the speaker's gavel earlier this year after a contentious series of votes, but not before making promises to House conservatives to change the way the chamber operates and to fight for budgetary concessions from the Democrats.

Those lawmakers, Gaetz said, have concerns that such promises "have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal."

The caucus did not wait until after the vote to express their concerns, with many of the members asserting the compromise debt-ceiling bill did not adequately address the nation's mounting budgetary problems.

Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck reportedly floated a vote to oust McCarthy prior to the debt ceiling vote, but that idea did not gain traction.

North Carolina GOP Rep. Dan Bishop openly called for removing McCarthy, while GOP presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the McCarthy-brokered deal "totally inadequate."

"Prior to this deal, our country was careening toward bankruptcy, and after this deal, our country will still be careening toward bankruptcy," DeSantis, also a former GOP House member, said at the time.

Ultimately, 71 Republicans broke ranks to oppose the debt ceiling plan, though it secured enough Democratic support to secure passage.

The House has a vote Wednesday on the similar Save Our Gas Stoves Act, presenting another possibility of a conservative revolt. 

One of the concessions McCarthy made to his detractors to secure the gavel was to permit a single lawmaker to object to his leadership to trigger a challenge.

With a narrowly divided House. Republicans control 222 seats of the 218 needed to claim control, leaving McCarthy with little room for dissent to stay in power.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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