Friday, 22 Sep 2023

Republican tries to scuttle debt limit bill in House Rules Committee as pressure grows on key swing vote


Republican tries to scuttle debt limit bill in House Rules Committee as pressure grows on key swing vote

Rep. Chip Roy accused House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday of cutting a deal that could complicate negotiators' efforts to pass a bill to raise the US debt ceiling this week.

But McCarthy's allies quickly refuted the Texas Republican, underscoring the tension ahead of a key meeting of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday - and putting new pressure on a conservative holdout, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who has yet to take a position on the plan.

Roy contended that McCarthy cut a hand-shake deal in January that all nine Republicans on the powerful panel must agree to move any legislation forward, otherwise bills could not be considered by the full House for majority approval. That would essentially doom the debt ceiling bill since Roy - who sits on the panel - and another conservative committee member are trying to stop the bill from advancing.

"A reminder that during Speaker negotiations to build the coalition, that it was explicit both that nothing would pass Rules Committee without AT LEAST 7 GOP votes - AND that the Committee would not allow reporting out rules without unanimous Republican votes," Roy tweeted.

Senior GOP sources acknowledged that there was an agreement for seven Republican committee members to agree to move forward in order to advance a bill to the floor, but they flatly dispute that there was a deal for all nine to sign off for legislation to advance.

"I have not heard that before. If those conversations took place, the rest of the conference was unaware of them," said Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota. "And frankly, I doubt them."

The dispute is significant because Roy sits on the committee - which is divided between nine Republicans and four Democrats - as does GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina. Both men have emerged as leading foes of the bipartisan debt limit bill to avoid a June 5 default, arguing it does little to rein in government spending.

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