Freedom Caucus 'Rebels' Have Three Words For Kevin McCarthy As His Speakership Hangs In The Balance Amid House Fight

The House Freedom Caucus continued to defy Speaker Kevin McCarthy for a second-straight day as of Wednesday by continuing to hold the floor of the chamber in a brazen display of the conservative caucus' solidarity and anger at McCarthy's recent compromise with President Joe Biden.

According to The New York Times, the display has raised questions about whether McCarthy is capable of continuing in the Speaker role with such a tenuous hold on the majority. Writing for the Times, Annie Karni explained from Washington, D.C. that "the rebellion has left him, at least for now, as speaker in name only, deprived of a governing majority."

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is one of the leaders of about a dozen 'Rebels' that halted all floor operations on Tuesday. The group did this by defeating a simple procedural measure, something unseen in decades, thus stalling all legislation in the House until they either relent or pressure GOP leadership into meeting their demands.

He tweeted Wednesday, "House Leadership couldn’t Hold the Line, Now we Hold the Floor."

According to the Times report, following a second day of forced inactivity, House leaders negotiated privately with members of the Freedom Caucus in an effort to regain control, informing other members that all votes for the rest of this week are shelved.

That evening McCarthy revealed to the press that there is some trouble cropping up behind closed doors. He said there was "a little chaos going on."

He told reporters, "We’ve been through this before; you know we’re in a small majority. I don’t take this job because it’s easy. We’ll work through this, and we’ll even be stronger."

However, in a rare split within the leadership team, McCarthy seemed to lay some blame for the log jam on House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA). He claimed that Scalise caused a misunderstanding that helped touch off the floor rebellion Tuesday.

"The majority leader runs the floor," he said, seeming to pin blame on Scalise.

While McCarthy made several attempts to wrangle the support of the more conservative branch of the House, who were deeply outraged by acquiescing to a very one-sided debt-ceiling deal with President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats, it seems to have had little avail. 

The House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), responsible for keeping individual members in line, told reporters the situation was a result of "an accumulation of frustration that’s been building since January."

“Don’t expect that it’s always going to be like this,” Emmer said. “Every team will encounter adversity at some point. That’s literally what we’re going through.”

Many have alluded to systemic failures going back even further to McCarthy's tumultuous election to Speaker after 15 attempts. 

On Wednesday, McCarthy implied disorganization among the Freedom Caucus, "They don’t know what to ask for," he said. But he added, "There’s numerous different things they’re frustrated about."

That would seem to be something of an understatement.

Appearing on the 'War Room' with Steve Bannon alongside Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Gaetz told the host that McCarthy has to choose between passing bills yielding to Democrats or standing with his own party. "We’re going to force him into a monogamous relationship with one or the other," the lawmaker said.

"What we’re not going to do is hang out with him for five months and then watch him go jump in the back seat with Hakeem Jeffries."

Gaetz clarified that no procedural votes will take place until the pistol-brace bill is passed, but committee work can continue, after which a new leadership agreement between the Caucus and the Speaker will be necessary. Both Gaetz and Boebert stated that McCarthy and House leadership "breached the agreement."

Members of the House Freedom Caucus will continue to "hold the line."

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