Last Updated on December 15, 2022
A caucus of moderate House Republicans — have threatened to tank a new House rules package if Kevin McCarthy is formally challenged. A number of House Freedom Caucus members — including U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Bob Good (R-VA), among others, have mounted a significant challenge to McCarthy in recent weeks and have indicated that they will not hesitate to put forward a motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair on January 3. Of the 44 members of the self-styled “Republican Governance Group,” six voted to impeach President Trump while five were promptly voted out. A number of others voted for the commission of Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 committee that has been used to target conservatives.
Wearing “Only Kevin” buttons, the moderate Republican group met with McCarthy and threatened to preserve Pelosi era House rules if a deal is cut with GOP “hardliners” on reforms popular with the Republican electorate.
“The Republican Governance Group met w/ McCarthy this morning & told him they’d support him on multiple ballots for speaker,” wrote CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona in a tweet Wednesday. “But they also had a warning: if he cuts a deal with hardliners on the motion to vacate the speaker’s chair, they will not support the rules package.”
Republicans opposed to McCarthy have routinely cited his refusal to do away with Pelosi’s House rules as a primary motivation for their opposition. For the House Freedom Caucus, banning earmarks has become a top focus, though the Republican caucus voted against banning the practice during a conference meeting earlier this month.
“After the House elects a speaker, the chamber then adopts a rules package, which is where we could see some of the concessions, if any, McCarthy makes to win more speaker’s vote,” Zanona wrote in a follow-up tweet. “So this warning could further complicate things for McCarthy.”
The Republican Governance Group is threatening to preserve Pelosi era House rules even though their members performed terribly in GOP primaries when compared with the “hardliners.”
Of the 44 current members, U.S. Reps. Tom Rice (R-SC), John Katko (R-NY), Fred Upton, (R-MI), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Peter Meijer (R-MI) and Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA) will not be returning to Capitol Hill in January. The common denominator among these members is that they all voted to impeach President Trump, which made them incredibly unpopular among the voters who put them in office.
Rice, Meijer and Herrera Beutler were defeated at the ballot box, while the others opted to retire rather than face certain defeat in a GOP primary.
A number of other Republican Governance Group members — including Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) faced difficult primary challenges over their votes to commission a Democrat-controlled Congressional committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol protests.
Despite their unpopularity with the GOP electorate, the Republican Governance Group is again giving ground to far-left radicals in their quest to spite the “hardliners” of the Republican Party.