HO CHI MINH CITY –
After an epic 15-vote election to become Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Republican Kevin McCarthy faces the next big challenge in managing a tough and fragile majority: passing package of rules to run the House of Commons.
Drafting and adopting a set of rules is usually a fairly routine legislative affair, but in these times it is the next challenge to the struggling McCarthy.
To become a speaker and win over skeptics, McCarthy had to give in to a small group of hardliners, who refused to support his promotion until he complied with their demands. .
Now those promises – or at least some of them – are being put into writing to be voted on when lawmakers return this week for their first vote as the majority party.
On Sunday, at least two moderate Republicans expressed their reservations about backing the rules package, citing what they described as a secret deal and potentially disproportionate power. given to a group of 20 conservatives.
Concessions include limits to McCarthy’s power, such as by allowing a single legislator to begin voting to remove him from the position of speaker and cut government spending, possibly could include defense cuts. They also gave the conservative Freedom Caucus more seats on the committee that decides what legislation should go to the House of Commons.
They also raise questions about whether McCarthy can garner enough support from Republicans, who hold a 222-212 advantage, in a key vote in the coming months to increase gender equality. debt maturity or not, as conservatives demanded substantial spending cuts, overcame opposition. from the White House and the Democratic-controlled US Senate.
Representative Nancy Mace, RS.C., a staunch McCarthy supporter, said she is currently “confused” about the proposed rules.
“I like the rule pack,” Mace said, alluding to what was made public. “What I’m not advocating is that a small number of people are trying to make a deal or arrangements made for themselves in a private, confidential manner.”
She said it would be difficult to get anything done in the House if a small group of powerfully empowered people compared to a larger number of moderates. “I am concerned that reasonable legislation will not be passed to get a vote on the floor,” she said.
Representative Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, was “not” against the rule package at all, criticizing a “insurgency caucus” that he said would cut defense spending and push for radicalization legislation. , such as on immigration.
Democrats are expected to be united against the package.
Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a member of the Freedom Caucus who is expected to lead the House Judiciary Committee, defended the concessions McCarthy made and said he believes the package of rules will receive enough Republican support to pass. He stressed that the agreements would help ensure wider representation on committees and would cut government spending.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” he said on Sunday, but “I think we’ll get the 218 votes needed to pass the rules package.”
In the coming months, Congress will have to work to raise the debt limit before the government reaches its borrowing limit or faces a severe default on payments, including those for Social Security. social, military, and federal benefits such as food assistance. Lawmakers will also have to fund federal agencies and programs for the next budget year, which begins October 1.
“Our common concern is that the dysfunction — historic — we’ve seen this week is not over, it’s just begun,” said the Democratic leader at House of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York said.
The White House has rejected calls by Republicans to cut spending in exchange for increasing the federal government’s borrowing authority. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre went too far on Sunday calling possible House Republican demands a “hostage” that risks default, an event that could trigger economic crisis.
“Congress will need to raise the debt limit without – without – conditions and it’s as simple as that,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One as US President Joe Biden flew to Texas. “Attempts to exploit the debt ceiling as leverage will not work. There will be no hostage taking.”
However, the White House also said it has no plans to avoid the necessary congressional approval of possible budget gimmicks, such as minting coins to help cover a possible deficit. amounted to about $1 trillion this financial year.
“We are not looking at any measure that can get through Congress,” Jean-Pierre said. “That’s not what we’re doing. This is the fundamental responsibility of the National Assembly and the National Assembly must act.”
Jordan argues that “everything must be discussed” when it comes to spending cuts, including in the defense sector, due to the government’s $32 trillion in debt. “Honestly, we’d better look at the money we sent to Ukraine and say, how can we best use that money to protect America?” he say.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, one of 20 who initially voted against McCarthy before supporting McCarthy, said he and other conservatives would hold the view that spending cuts should be on the ceiling bill. in debt. When asked if he would exercise the new powers of members and unilaterally start voting to remove the speaker if McCarthy ultimately disagrees, Roy offered a warning.
“I’m not going to play a ‘what if’ game about how we’re going to use the House’s tools to make sure we enforce the terms of the deal, but we’re going to use the House’s tools,” he said. to enforce the terms of the agreement,” said Roy.
Mace and Gonzales appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Jordan spoke on “Fox News Sunday,” Jeffries was on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Roy was on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Associated Press writer Josh Boak contributed to this report.