McCarthy faces sudden challenge from extremists after US debt ceiling bill

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing a backlash from hardline Republicans who accuse him of betraying a deal that got him elected to lead the chamber, raising questions about the job security of the top Republican in Congress.

A dozen hardliners derailed a Republican effort in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to block new environmental regulations on household gas stoves, joining Democrats in killing the measure in the Republican-controlled chamber.

The extremists’ vow to use “rules of procedure” on further votes unless McCarthy agrees to their terms has raised questions about whether the House would be able to proceed with further legislation.

These hardliners were among the House Republicans who opposed McCarthy’s election as president in January until he accepted concessions that made it easier to challenge his leadership.

They were also among 71 Republicans who opposed compromise debt ceiling legislation passed last week. They claim that McCarthy and his management team broke promised spending cuts, ignored their contribution and retaliated against one of their members.

“What we plan to do is be ready at any time, acting in good faith, to reforge the unity that was destroyed last week,” said Rep. Dan Bishop, one of the extremists.

Bishop and other conservatives joined Democrats in a 220-206 vote that prevented the Republican-led House from debating and passing two bills aimed at stopping federal regulations on stovetops. gas. Some state and local governments have turned to such regulations as a way to combat global warming.

The protest raised questions about whether the House would be able to proceed with further legislation, including a measure to increase congressional control over regulations and expand the scope of judicial oversight of federal agencies.

McCarthy and his allies met with the group on Tuesday evening to try to resolve their differences.

“This isn’t about lecturing Republicans on what it means to be a Republican. This is about how we work together on a daily, weekly basis,” Rep. Patrick McHenry told reporters. an ally of McCarthy.

McCarthy oversees a narrow Republican majority in the House of 222 to 213, meaning he can only lose four votes from his own party on any measure that faces uniform opposition from Democrats.

McCarthy endured 15 floor votes in January until he finally won the vote for president, agreeing to a set of demands that hardliners now say he violated to get the bill passed. on the debt ceiling. The agreement allows a single lawmaker to seek removal by floor vote.

Hardliners said they would not go that route for now.

“Let’s sit down and see how we’re going to make decisions for the Republican conference going forward. Is it going to be done by consensus, or is it going to be by decree? said Republican Representative Chip Roy.

(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Andy Sullivan and Leslie Adler)

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