Five House conservatives voted against advancing a Pentagon funding bill Tuesday, marking the latest setback for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in uniting his conference to fund the government.
Republican Reps. Dan Bishop (N.C.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) all joined Democrats in voting against the rule for the appropriations bill, bringing the final vote to 214-212. This prevented the House from debating the legislation on the floor and from eventually voting on whether to pass it.
It’s rare for lawmakers to block their own party from advancing legislation. Votes on rules — which govern debate on legislation — are usually routine matters. The majority party typically supports the effort and the minority party opposes it, regardless of lawmakers’ feelings on the underlying bill.
But in a narrow majority, the right-wing has been flexing its muscles in demanding steeper spending cuts as part of the appropriations process.
At the center of the conservatives’ opposition is their demand to see spending levels cut across all 12 appropriations bills. The coalition of Republicans have suggested that they will hold up approving the appropriations bills until the GOP leadership meets their demands.
“I took down the rule — as I vowed I would — because the Conference continues not to have moved 12 appropriations bills at the spending level agreed to in January,” Bishop said in a statement. “I assume leadership believes me now.”
Norman told reporters ahead of the vote that he planned to oppose the rule because leadership has not yet presented him with the top-line numbers across all 12 appropriations bills. Biggs and Rosendale also called on Republican leadership to reveal the top-line numbers — a request that conservatives have been making for months.
“Because we’re sitting, we’re sitting here and they’re throwing one bill out that’s that they plussed up and they we don’t even know what the top-line numbers for the entire packages and and so they should be holding stuff back until we all know kind of what the top line is and get those done. They didn’t get it done,” Biggs told reporters.
“For months, I have made it clear that in order for me to support the appropriations bills, we need to see the total value for all 12 bills,” Rosendale posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Leadership has yet to provide us with that number, which is why I voted against the rule this afternoon! Why are they keeping it a secret?”
This is just the latest setback for McCarthy after House GOP leadership pulled a procedural vote on the conference’s proposal for a short-term funding bill amid opposition from hard-line conservatives. The House has just less than two weeks to approve government funding to avoid a shutdown.