Republican hard-liners dealt a blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday by passing the 2024 defense spending bill for the second time in 48 hours.
GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and four other insurgents voted with Democrats to block the Pentagon funding package as the party descended further into chaos.
McCarthy and his leadership team thought they had the votes to pass a defense plan filled with conservative-friendly policies.
But critics voted against it and called for deep spending cuts.
The move puts even more pressure on McCarthy as he battles a rebellion by colleagues who want to remove him from the presidency.
The vote to begin debate on the defense spending bill was lost 216 to 212.
It was another blow to McCarthy, who last night met for more than two hours with his fellow Republicans to seek consensus on legislation to prevent a government shutdown from Oct. 1.
After the failed defense spending vote McCarthy said he would ‘continue to pursue the same strategy I have had since January – just keep working;’ never give up.’
The House failed for the second time on Thursday to advance the 2024 defense spending bill, dealing a blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his team of leaders.
Greene, usually an ally of McCarthy, and Crane had previously voted for the rule to protect and reversed their votes on Thursday.
Republicans Dan Bishop (N.C.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Eli Crane (Ariz.) were opposed.
Greene, usually a McCarthy ally, and Crane had previously voted for the rule to begin debate on the defense spending bill, but their votes were overturned on Thursday.
Typically, a member of the majority party votes to initiate debate, even if they oppose the actual legislation: no such procedural vote had failed since November 2002, prior to this current Congress.
“We’re pretty much out of business right now,” Representative Tim Burchett told reporters. “They clearly can’t count,” he said of the GOP leadership.
The failed procedural vote came after a two-hour Republican meeting Wednesday night, where those opposing the spending legislation got a chance to air their complaints.
Trying to push through a spending bill to keep the federal government open could be extremely troublesome.
To do this Congress would have to pass either a short-term continuing resolution, known as a CR, and continue debating 12 separate spending bills or a larger full-year funding bill.
McCarthy has presented an idea to members — one that would set the discretionary spending cap at $1.471 trillion for one month, as the hard-liners have demanded, then crafting an appropriations bill after Oct. 30 at $1.52 trillion.
The deal would also include Republican border legislation but would have no chance of a vote in the Senate.
However, Republicans believe it will provide a starting point for negotiations with the Democratic-led upper chamber.
Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said: ‘Instead of reducing the likelihood of a shutdown, Speaker McCarthy is actually increasing it by wasting time on extremist proposals that may not become law in the Senate.’
GOP negotiators have introduced several proposals to force a vote on CR, which would extend the deadline to Oct. 30.
But many hard-liners, not afraid of a shutdown 10 days away, say they oppose any CR and that the House should move forward with 12 separate appropriations bills.
‘We say, “Let’s pass this CR so we don’t have to pass another CR. Well, that’s like saying to a heroin addict we’ll give you some heroin so you won’t take heroin anymore,” Burchett explained.
Tennessee Republicans have predicted that passing a short-term CR could lead to jamming into an omnibus spending bill, which bundles all spending priorities together into one giant bill.
‘We’re very passive right now,’ said Representative Tim Burchett, who voted for the rule but said he would oppose the defense appropriations bill. “They clearly can’t count,” he said of the GOP leadership.
‘Oh, okay, let’s do a 30-day CR, now let’s do another 30-day CR and then pass an omnibus… I think it’s a dedication of our duties that the only thing that needs to be done is What we actually swore was to pass a budget, and we don’t do that.’
Moderate Republicans are fed up with the focus being placed on a handful of stubborn radicals — all for the sake of a bill that won’t pass in the Senate.
‘A CR that has no chance of passing the Senate is probably a bad idea,’ Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, told DailyMail.com.
Asked if now was the time to start working on a deal that could muster a majority of both Democrat and Republican votes, he said: ‘I would like to see more leadership in Congress.’
Democrats have floated the idea of forcing a vote on the CR through a discharge petition.
His CR would continue funding at 2023 levels set under Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
They’ll need a handful of Republicans to get on board, and many have already said they would do so to avoid a shutdown.
“It’s absolutely an option,” said New York Republican Mark Molinaro.
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