House Conservatives Revolt

( – Signaling their dissatisfaction with the spending deal United States House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) had arranged with Democrats, a group of House conservatives challenged Johnson by helping to defeat a procedural vote needed to move the legislation forward.

This move by members of the conservative faction, who have expressed strong criticism of the deal for not sufficiently reducing spending, marked a significant moment of internal Republican discord.

In a bizarre display of bipartisanship, thirteen Republicans sided with Democrats to vote against the rule for three separate bills.

These bills, unrelated to spending, were halted from debate and voting due to this vote.

Notably, Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), the vice chair of the House GOP conference, shifted his vote to oppose the rule just before the vote concluded, a strategic decision that allows for the possibility of revisiting the rule in the future.

The final vote count stood at 203-216, leading to the cancellation of a subsequent vote series by the Republican leadership, in the wake of this revolt.

This act of opposition unfolded mere days after Johnson revealed a deal on spending limits for the remainder of fiscal 2024, a deal that conservatives have lambasted for its lack of substantial spending cuts. This situation unfolds as Congress faces impending deadlines on January 19 and February 2, which could potentially lead to government shutdowns.

The deal in question, aligning closely with the debt limit agreement formed last year between then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden, proposes a $1.59 trillion spending cap, supplemented by about $69 billion in budget modifications to boost nondefense spending for most of fiscal 2024. It also proposes a $10 billion reduction in IRS mandatory funding and reclaims $6.1 billion of unused COVID-19 funds.

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), the new chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, expressed the group’s stance to reporters: “We’re making a statement that the deal, as announced, does not adequately address border security or reduce our spending, and the fact that it’s likely to be passed predominantly with Democrat votes under suspension of the rules is unacceptable.”

Several Republican representatives, including Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Good, Chip Roy (Texas), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Eric Burlison (Mo.), and Andy Ogles (Tenn.), stood against the procedural vote.

Votes on rules, typically procedural and straightforward, have been utilized by conservatives in this Congress as a means to express their discontent with various leadership decisions.

When asked whether conservatives would continue this approach as a form of protest against Johnson’s spending deal, Good expressed a desire to persuade the Speaker, the leadership, and the entire Republican conference to reconsider the deal as it currently stands.

Johnson, in response, remained confident in the stability of the deal despite the failed rule vote. In a Fox News Channel interview, he stated, “I’m also a conservative hardliner, that’s been my entire career in Congress and all of my years as a legislator. Cutting spending, this is a big priority for us, the Republican Party.”