Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Freedom Caucus Mutiny to ‘End the Era of Imperial Speakership’ Torches McCarthy

'They don't get to dole out punishment to us and then expect that we're going to continue their failure theater... '

(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) Combining a flex of political muscle with a spirit of robust rebellion, conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus staged a coup Tuesday that reportedly left embattled Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reeling in embittered confusion, stunned surprise and facing possible ouster, instead of basking in kudos for helping orchestrate passage of the Democrat-endorsed debt ceiling deal.

The conservative revolt was set up by Freedom Caucus stalwarts blocking what is typically a routine rules vote, essentially seizing control of the House Floor in a political move that hadn’t been deployed in nearly a quarter-century, when a procedural rules vote failed in 2002. 

Tuesday’s vote on several measures, including one to block the federal government from banning gas stoves, saw Republicans who overwhelmingly favored the measures join Democrats to defeat them in a 206-220 vote. If that unlikely combination holds moving forward, it could endanger McCarthy’s already razor-thin majority needed to pass bills.

The dramatic and public rebuke of McCarthy had little to do with gas stoves — a measure that can be revisited — and was orchestrated in response to the speaker’s brokering a disastrous debt deal with President Joe Biden and Democrats, while attempting to strong-arm caucus members into compliance. The retaliation played out to the surprise of McCarthy, according to comments reportedly made by Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., a leadership voice of the Freedom Caucus who voted against the measure.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Texas, one of 12 GOP lawmakers who opposed the rules vote Tuesday, said the move was designed to “make it clear” that McCarthy and his RINO allies “cannot continue to side with Democrats over their own party and extort party members for support.”

The extortion jab was likely in reference to what many conservative lawmakers said was influential in their decision to join the Gas Stove Mutiny. It erupted when McCarthy reportedly tried to strong-arm Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., into supporting the debt-ceiling deal under threat of killing Clyde’s pistol brace bill.

“We were not going to tolerate that,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said during an interview with Steve Bannon’s War Room.

“They don’t get to dole out punishment to us and then expect that we’re going to continue their failure theater. I’m done with their failure theater,” Gaetz said.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.,, said McCarthy sabotaged his own fate when he failed to keep his promise of keeping federal spending in check.

When asked Tuesday what it would take to get McCarthy’s legislative agenda and speakership back on track, Buck replied, “He has to abide by the agreements he made at the beginning of the Congress.” Buck reiterated that sentiment in a tweet blasting McCarthy.

“He broke that commitment with the Biden-backed debt ceiling ‘deal,’” Buck tweeted Tuesday. “How can he govern if House Republicans can’t trust him to honor his word? How are we supposed to stay unified?”

It was a question answered with ominous overtures of ouster, which boded ill for McCarthy’s chances of regaining faith and instead facing a possible motion to vacate from colleagues who claimed they, and their constituents, were betrayed.

“We took down the rule because we’re frustrated at the way this place is operating. We took a stand in January to end the era of imperial speakership,” Gaetz told reporters Tuesday.

“We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt-limit deal.”

The spending scheme, debt deal that McCarthy brokered with Biden passed the House and Senate with overwhelming support from Democrats for good reason. The agreement raised the debt ceiling by at least $4 trillion, retained the bulk of new IRS compliance agents sought by Democrats and capitulated to leftists on advancing the Biden agenda.

“We’re unsure if Mr. McCarthy, the speaker, is going to continue that coalition with the Democrats,” Biggs said Tuesday, “or if he’s going to try to rebuild the unity that we had seen so much in the Republican Party over the last few months.”

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