The right organizes the blockade of the house in revenge on Kevin McCarthy

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives stalled on Wednesday with members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus vowing to “keep your mouth shut” out of frustration with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“Kevin blew conference unity last week over the debt ceiling agreement,” Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.) said.

In an unusual rebuke to their own leadership on Tuesday, 11 Republicans, including Bishop, voted against a procedural resolution bringing bills to the ground. The standoff continued on Wednesday as hardliners sought some kind of concession to McCarthy.

Freedom Caucus members are upset that the speaker compromised with President Joe Biden last week on ‘debt ceiling’ legislation to allow the federal government to borrow money to pay for expenses previously allowed.

Republicans had proposed deep spending cuts and tougher work requirements for federal programs, and McCarthy had managed to push a token bill through the House with nearly all Republicans on board.

But the deal McCarthy struck with Biden contained only modest cuts to spending and job requirements, disappointing conservatives, and the bill passed with more Democratic votes than Republicans.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted Wednesday that leaders had failed to hold the line, so he and his fellow conservatives would keep their word, meaning they would block laws from being passed, even by sending bills on the defense of regulating gas stoves. Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) amplified her message in all caps.

Members of McCarthy’s executive team would not say Wednesday morning if the votes would take place later in the day. It’s unclear how long the standoff could last.

Bishop said a temporary delay in token legislation would be “immaterial in the scheme of things”. He said he hoped McCarthy could restore unity among Republicans with some kind of written agreement.

McCarthy conceded several things to far-right members to win their support for his presidential bid, including a rule change allowing individual lawmakers to initiate a vote of no confidence in the speaker. But disgruntled members of the Freedom Caucus are apparently not threatening to use that option.

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