House GOP leaders delay legislative business amid opposition from conservatives

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Conservative hardliners are continuing to block the flow of legislation in the House amid a standoff with Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the recently passed debt limit deal.

The House was set to vote Wednesday on a motion to bring several GOP initiatives to the floor. But Mr. McCarthy was forced to scuttle the schedule because of ongoing opposition from the House Freedom Caucus.

“We’re talking it through, I’ll think we’ll get through it,” said Mr. McCarthy, California Republican.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, said it was unclear if a vote would take place by the end of Wednesday.

Eleven members of the Freedom Caucus voted with nearly every single House Democrat on Tuesday to block legislation from coming to the floor. The move sidelined several key bills central to the GOP’s agenda, including an effort to prevent the Biden administration from trying to ban gas stoves.

Members of the Freedom Caucus say the delay is warranted not only because of Mr. McCarthy’s deal to hike the debt limit beyond the 2024 presidential election, but also the tactics undertaken by GOP leaders to pass it.

“We warned them not to cut that [debt] deal without coming down and sit down and talk to us,” Rep. Chip Roy, Texas Republican, said. “So this is all about restoring a process that will fundamentally change things back to what was working.”

Freedom Caucus members are particularly upset over allegations made by Rep. Andrew Clyde, Georgia Republican. Mr. Clyde has said that members of the GOP leadership threatened to tank a legislative pet initiative if he voted against the debt limit deal.

“Leadership failed to bring Andrew Clyde’s bill to repeal the unconstitutional ATF pistol brace rule to the floor,” said Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican. “These continued sellouts breach the agreement we made in January for a unified, functioning Congress. I’ve had enough of the games.”

The Freedom Caucus nearly tanked Mr. McCarthy’s speakership bid this year. In exchange for allowing Mr. McCarthy’s ascension, the group pushed through a rules package that decentralized the power of congressional leadership.

Rep. Matt Gaetz said that Mr. McCarthy’s push to pass the debt limit agreement with the help of House Democrats undercut the changes conservatives fought for in the rules package.

“We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership has been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal,” said Mr. Gaetz, Florida Republican. “The answer for us is to reassert House conservatives as the appropriate coalition partner for our leadership, instead of them making common cause with Democrats.”

The Freedom Caucus has not specified how it plans to move forward amid the impasse. The group fought for a provision within the House rules package that allows any single lawmaker to force a vote on ejecting the speaker, known in Congress-speak as a motion to vacate the chair.

While members of the Freedom Caucus say a motion to vacate is on the table, they are not set on using it just yet. Instead, they hope to settle the matter in private negotiations with Mr. McCarthy

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