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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Beating a Rule

David Lerman, Laura Weiss, and Avery Roe at Roll Call
Hard-right House conservatives derailed legislation scheduled for floor votes Tuesday in a rebuke to GOP leadership.

A group of House Republicans bucked their party to vote against a rule devised by GOP leaders to take up legislation that included measures to rein in the federal regulatory process and the Biden administration's ability to restrict gas stoves in particular. The rule was defeated on a 206-220 vote, as 11 GOP defectors joined all Democrats in opposition.

Another GOP "no" vote was Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., though he switched his vote in a procedural ploy to be able to bring the rule up again for consideration at a later date.

The dissenting Republicans said the vote was intended to signal their frustration with GOP leadership for cutting a deal last week on the debt limit they opposed. They also said leaders backtracked on a pledge to schedule a floor vote on gun rights legislation.

"We got rolled. It was a bad deal," said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, referring to the debt limit package. "We warned them not to cut that deal without coming down and sitting down and talk[ing] to us. So this is all about restoring a process that will fundamentally, you know, change things back to what was working."

Roy said the Republican conference headed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy must now decide how it will operate. “Is it going to be by consensus or is it going to be fiat?” he asked.

The surprise defeat of the House Republicans’ rule, typically adopted on a party-line vote, underscored the threat to McCarthy’s speakership as he tries to govern with a razor-thin majority.

It was the first defeat of a House rule on the floor since 2002, according to C-SPAN's Howard Mortman. At that time, anti-abortion Republicans rebelled against bankruptcy overhaul legislation over language Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., helped author that would bar protesters at abortion clinics from declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying court-ordered fines and judgments.