Republicans are defending the messy speaker battle ahead of a House vote on Monday


Several Republican hardliners in Congress vowed Sunday to continue divisive tactics when the new Congress begins in earnest this week, after a four-day standoff over the House speaker last week exposed deep divisions in the GOP.

“Will we have such a conflict in the future? I hope so,” Congressman Chip Roy (R-Tex.) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ultimately prevailed early Saturday in his bid for Speaker of the House on the 15th round of voting, but only after yielding to a wide range of ever-increasing demands sought by about 20 hardliners in his party. Parts of that deal — some details of which have not yet been released — will be put to the test Monday when the House of Representatives votes on a package of rules.

“It was about empowering the people — empowering the rank and file,” said Roy, who voted against McCarthy 11 times before backing him in recent rounds.

He pointed to concessions won, such as allowing a minimum of 72 hours from the time legislation is introduced to when it can be voted on and capping federal spending at 2022 levels. Supporters also seek to increase the number of members of the House Freedom Caucus on key committees.

How Kevin McCarthy Survived the GOP Rebellion to Become Speaker of the House

Appearing after Roy on CNN, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.), who supported McCarthy through every round of the vote, said he approved of many of the changes Roy and his allies wanted. “The new rules and way of doing business are good,” he said.

But Crenshaw said the way critics have ripped off those concessions is hurting the speaker and the party.

“There was no reason to keep voting and keep voting” and allowing Republicans to make speeches that “demean and just belittle and insult Kevin McCarthy,” Crenshaw said. “… This could have been done without all the drama.”

Among the tough battles Congress will face this year will be the fight to raise the debt ceilingWho is it legal limit about how much the US government can borrow to pay its bills. The cap is expected to be hit this summer or fall. If it is not increased, the country will default on its debt, which many economists fear will trigger a global fiscal disaster.

The GOP is gearing up for a fiscal brawl

White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters on Sunday that “Congress will have to raise the debt limit without, without conditions.”

Some Republicans are expected to push for major budget cuts to defense spending and entitlement programs before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. Such a confrontation could be a major test of McCarthy’s ability to hold on to power. As part of the concessions, only one member of the House may attempt to replace the speaker by introducing a free the chair movement essentially a vote of no confidence.

Roy did not commit to the circumstances that the House Freedom Caucus would consider necessary to request such a vote. “We will use the tools of the House to enforce the terms of the agreement,” he said.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who has backed McCarthy in every round of the vote, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he expects a hard-right Republican to eventually challenge McCarthy with a similar proposal. “I’m not convinced we can go the entire Congress without having it,” Comer said.

How Kevin McCarthy Survived the GOP Rebellion to Become Speaker of the House

Other Republicans have signaled dismay at the deal McCarthy struck. Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Tex.) said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “you cannot allow the insurgent group to impose itself and dictate.”

Gonzalez said he intended to vote against the rules package because he was concerned the spending cap plan would cut billions of dollars from the defense budget.

“If this insurgent group decides to floor anti-immigrant legislation and disguise it as border security policy, it will not succeed,” he said. “And I will do everything in my power to make sure that this type of legislation fails on the floor.”

Avg the most dramatic moments during the tussle with speakers came at the end of the 14th round of voting on Friday night when Congressman Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.) stormed and leaned angrily toward Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of final refusals. Rogers had to be restrained by Congressman Richard Hudson (RN.C.), who put a hand over Rogers’ mouth and led him away.

Roy defended even such chaotic scenes, saying the American people needed to see a pushback against the power brokers.

“When you push back the swamp, the swamp will push back. We saw this on display. “It’s okay,” Roy said.

Goetz, who entered Congress in 2017, has become one of the most polarizing figures in the Republican Party. He has amassed millions of followers on various social media platforms. He also ingratiated himself with grassroots supporters — and antagonized colleagues — with grievances against Washington and authority figures.

“Matt Goetz is a fraud,” Congresswoman Nancy Mays (RN.C.) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Every time he voted against Kevin McCarthy last week, he sent out a fundraising email,” she added. (The Wall Street Journal reported (that McCarthy’s opponents have their own online campaign finance apparatus unrelated to the national party.)

House Democrats argued Sunday that Republicans are still in disarray and that their priorities are out of sync with those of most Americans.

“The dysfunction that was historic that we saw this week is not over. This is just the beginning,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m very, very disturbed by the way Congress has started, and I hope it’s not a foreshadowing of what’s to come.”

House Minority Leader Catherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) dismissed Republican talk of improving the House, calling it a “smokescreen” on CNN. “They will use the debt ceiling as leverage to take America’s elderly hostage,” she said.

Karen DeYoung and Sabrina Malhi contributed to this report.

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