House Passes Substantive Rules Package in McCarthy's First Test as Speaker

In his first major scheduled vote since becoming Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy has gotten a major rules package through the chamber with only one dissent in the ranks.


The comprehensive set of rules puts restrictions on how funding bills can be voted on, and puts restrictions on rushing legislation through the House. The final vote was 220-213, with Texas Republican, Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas, being the lone Republican to vote against it.

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Changes to the rules package were negotiated up through the 11th hour as part of a deal to earn McCarthy the votes for the speaker. Pushing for those changes were Roy, Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and freshman congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., who said last week at the Capitol the changes will be “transformational, and it will outlast every person in this room.”

The newly adopted rules also include a provision that allows House Freedom Caucus members to receive three of the nine seats on the House Rules Committee, which dictates the terms of how bills are brought to the floor and how they can be amended.

The rules package was part of a high-profile compromise that came about through negotiations with conservatives who held up McCarthy’s appointment as Speaker. That compromise, which Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and others helped get through, was a major factor behind McCarthy finally getting the Speaker’s gavel.


Another major victory for fiscal conservatives was the “cut-as-you-go” policy that was adopted.

The package also includes a return to a “Cut-As-You-Go” policy that says legislation cannot be considered if it increases mandatory spending over a 5- or 10-year period. This “CUTGO” policy requires bills that call for new spending to find offsetting spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget – an ambitious new curb on federal spending, part of the GOP’s effort to stop piling on trillions of dollars in new debt each year.

The vote signals a victory for both McCarthy and the conservatives who held up his appointment as Speaker. It also marks a turning point in the House where conservatives will have greater influence in the rules and legislation process.


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