House conservatives have lost 'trust factor' with Speaker McCarthy, blockade all business on House floor

June 10, 2023
Ben Marquis

Several conservative House Republicans, still angry over the debt ceiling deal and perceived broken promises, effectively staged a revolt against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday as they halted all procedural business on the House floor for the remainder of the week.

Now one participant in that revolt, House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), explained that it was due to Speaker McCarthy having lost the "trust" of the more conservative wing of the GOP Caucus, Just the News reported.

"The trust factor is not there, and I told [McCarthy.] Me along with others said, 'You just don't have it now,'" Norman told the outlet Friday. "And whether he can repair it, is up to Kevin. He wanted the job. And let's let him try to repair it if he can, or if he really cares to."

House floor blockaded by upset House conservatives

The Hill reported Wednesday that the House floor was essentially "paralyzed" by way of a blockade by a group of around a dozen Republican members who refused to allow leadership to hold any procedural votes on several GOP agenda items that otherwise would have easily passed along party-line votes.

Discussions were held between some of the members in revolt and leadership, but no breakthroughs were announced, and Speaker McCarthy told reporters, "What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna come back on Monday, work through it, and be back working for the American public."

Thus far, none of the members in revolt have moved to oust McCarthy with a call to vacate the chair, and the Speaker seemed to downplay the potential threat to his leadership, as he said, "If I would shy away from this, I wouldn’t want to do this job. I enjoy this work. I enjoy this job. I enjoy this conflict," which he asserted will ultimately make the House GOP Caucus even stronger and more united.

Demands to end blockade still being worked out

Rep. Norman told The Hill that around 20 "concerned" members had discussed among themselves and were in the "process" of deciding upon "a couple of things" that they would request from leadership, and noted, "We’re looking for concrete things that are going to be done" to restore the lost trust.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said he didn't know exactly what it would take to placate the group and end the blockade on procedural votes, but made it clear that lingering hard feelings about the recent debt ceiling deal was a key motivator for the unrest.

"The Speaker formed a coalition with Democrats to get us a $4 trillion national debt," Biggs told The Hill. "And I continued to be concerned because he hasn’t repudiated that coalition. And my guess is he’s prepared to do that again on the next three must-pass bills: Farm Bill, NDAA, and the budget."

McCarthy seemingly blames Scalise for "miscalculation"

Another factor behind the blockade is allegations from one House conservative, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), that GOP leadership essentially threatened and punished him for voting against the debt ceiling deal by refusing to fulfill a promise to bring to the floor for a vote a bill he proposed to repeal that Biden administration's controversial gun control rule banning pistol braces.

According to Fox News, Speaker McCarthy appeared to suggest on Wednesday that House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) was at least partially at fault for a "miscalculation" and miscommunication with Clyde about the pistol brace rule measure.

"Yesterday was started on something else," he told reporters in reference to the blockade. "It was a, it was a conversation that the Majority Leader had with Clyde, and I think it was a miscalculation or misinterpretation of what one said to another. And that's what started this and then something else bellowed into it."

House Majority Leader fires back

Scalise saw things differently, however, and said, "I talked to a number of the members as the voted was ending yesterday on the floor, and you know, clearly there was some anger expressed about the debt ceiling deal and even some perceived broken promises going back to the speaker's race in January."

"Other things came up, too. We're still working to bring the pistol brace bill to the floor. And there's been vote issues with that bill for a long time. I'm working with Congressman Clyde to get the pistol brace bill onto the floor but also to make sure it passes," he added.

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