Kevin McCarthy ends standoff with House conservatives

 June 13, 2023

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reached a tentative agreement Monday with members of the House Freedom Caucus to end a blockade that had prevented bills from advancing for about a week.

The standoff was the latest test for McCarthy, who has been challenged with unifying a narrow majority since he won the Speaker's gavel in January following a drawn-out fight with conservative hardliners.

McCarthy ends blockade

Divisions opened anew after McCarthy reached a debt ceiling deal with the White House that conservatives rejected as a betrayal of Mccarthy's promises to cut spending.

They responded by holding up business on the legislative floor in protest. But on Monday, they had reached an understanding with McCarthy to move forward.

“We aired our issues. We want to see this move forward as a body,” Ralph Norman (R-SC) said.

The deal unlocked a path for the House to pass a bill preventing the federal government from banning gas stoves that initially failed to advance days ago, the Epoch Times reported.

Open for business

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz said the House will be open for business "this week," but he hinted at further disruption without a new "power-sharing agreement" that ensures House conservatives won't be sidelined.

"It has to be renegotiated in a way so that what happened on this debt limit vote would never happen again, where House conservatives would be left as the less desirable coalition partner than Democrats," Gaetz said.

As far as tangible outcomes, Gaetz said the protest successfully "liberated" a bill to protect pistol braces that party leaders were accused of blocking.


The party's narrow majority has given outsized leverage to right-wing members, and they haven't been afraid to flex that power. If just four Republicans refuse to vote with the party, a bill can be defeated.

After McCarthy's debt deal, some members began chattering about moving to vacate the chair, but those threats haven't materialized so far.

There seems to be a realization that, for all their differences, House Republicans cannot afford to squabble indefinitely with control of the presidency and Congress up for grabs in 2024. But the truce isn't guaranteed to last.

"We’re concerned about the economic security of this country. And to that end, we will work,” Norman said. “If we don’t have that, there’s gonna be fights. There’s a lot more fights down the road."

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