Conservatives’ standoff with McCarthy brings House to a halt

Washington — A group of conservative Republican lawmakers is throwing a wrench in Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plans in the House in retaliation for his deal with President Biden to suspend the debt ceiling, delaying business on the floor for the second straight day.

On Tuesday, 11 House Freedom Caucus members and allies blocked a procedural measure — known as a House rule, which sets ground rules for legislative debate — on a GOP-backed messaging bill to restrict the government’s ability to regulate gas stoves. The vote’s failure blindsided GOP leadership. The last time a rule failed in the House was in 2002.

The standoff carried into Wednesday, and comes as House Freedom Caucus members have floated trying to oust McCarthy from the speakership over the debt ceiling deal.

“House Leadership couldn’t Hold the line,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida tweeted. “Now we Hold the Floor.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado echoed him in her own tweet: “HOLD THE FLOOR!”

McCarthy said that his “intention” was to hold votes Wednesday and that leadership and conservatives are “talking through it.”

“I can’t believe someone would want to hold up not allowing people to pick their own oven or stove they’d like to have,” he said.

Conservative members were angry about the debt ceiling deal and “perceived broken promises” that were made while McCarthy sought the speakership in January, Majority Leader Steve Scalise said. They were also upset that legislation on a rule about pistol braces championed by Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia hadn’t been brought up for a vote. Scalise said it doesn’t yet have enough support to pass and he plans on bringing it to the floor soon.

Scalise said leadership was “not ready to make a decision if there could be a vote on the rule today,” referring to the gas stove measure, while also noting that the issue may not be resolved Wednesday.

“There’s been a lot of conversations and there’s going to be more,” Scalise said. “We’ve still got more work to do.”

When asked by reporters whether McCarthy’s position as speaker was safe, Scalise answered yes.

Keshia Butts, Ellis Kim and Nikole Killion contributed reporting.

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