US House ‘livid’ conservatives poised for next battle with McCarthy

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will reconvene amid political uncertainty on Monday, as hardline Republican conservatives clash with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and spoil a new battle over government spending. federal.

Lawmakers must return to Washington for the first time since 11 Republicans, including members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, paralyzed the chamber for days last week to protest a bipartisan bill on the ceiling of the debt passed by the House on May 31. without some of the government spending cuts they had demanded.

“What you saw last week was due to total frustration between all of us. And we’re actually more livid now,” Representative Ralph Norman, a prominent Tory, told Reuters.

It was unclear whether hardline Republicans would continue to use parliamentary procedures to thwart the legislation, as they seek an as yet undefined gesture from McCarthy to allay their concerns.

The House is due to consider Republican courier bills this week that have been delayed by the impasse. The bills would prohibit new federal regulations on gas ranges and make other regulations subject to congressional approval.

Lawmakers will also consider a bill that would repeal the federal gun ban on pistol straps, which hardliners say Republican leaders originally fired as punishment for their opposition to the government’s cap package. debt. Party leaders deny the claim.

“We’ll be back. We’ll vote,” Rep. Tom Emmer, the House’s No. 3 Republican, said in an interview.

Sustained opposition from a small group of hardliners could leave McCarthy’s narrow majority 222-213 vulnerable to infighting, potentially complicating passage of key appropriations, defense authorization and agriculture and even the empowerment of House Democrats.

McCarthy can afford to lose no more than four Republican votes on any measure that faces uniform opposition from Democrats.

His debt ceiling compromise with Democratic President Joe Biden set limits that would keep discretionary government spending roughly flat for the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2024, which begins Oct. 1.

Norman and other conservatives want 12 appropriations bills that Congress will try to pass in the coming months to contain deeper spending cuts included in a Republican debt ceiling bill that has passed by the House in April.

“Our motive is what everyone knows: the country cannot continue down this path of utter recklessness in spending,” Norman said.

But moderate Republicans have warned that hardline tactics could backfire on conservatives if party infighting forces Republican leaders to rely on Democratic votes to push through critical legislation.

“The only bills that will pass will be bipartisan bills, which is the last thing these guys want,” said Rep. Don Bacon, a prominent centrist Republican.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Mary Milliken and Paul Simao)

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