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U.S. House to vote on rules that will constrain McCarthy“s power

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2023-01-09T14:41:11Z

U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wields the Speaker’s gavel after being elected the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in a late night 15th round of voting on the fourth day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 7, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Monday on the rules that will govern it for the next two years, in a first test of newly elected Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to wrangle his caucus.

The legislation includes several changes that will limit McCarthy’s power, including allowing a single lawmaker to call for his removal at any time and changes meant to sharply limit spending, concessions that McCarthy agreed to win support from right-wing hardliners for his leadership bid.

Republicans have a narrow majority of 222-212 in the House, after winning fewer than expected seats in November’s midterm elections. This has amplified the hardliners power, and raised questions about how the divided Congress, where President Joe Biden’s Democrats still control the Senate, will function.

Lawmakers face critical tasks in the year ahead including addressing the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt limit. Failure to do that, or even a long standoff, would shake the global economy.

Other changes include a 72-hour waiting period between when a bill is introduced and when it can get a vote, a cap on government spending at 2022 levels and the creation of a committee to investigation the Justice Department.

At least one Republican, Representative Tony Gonzales, has said he plans to vote against the package due to proposed limits on defense spending, which he told CBS on Sunday was “a horrible idea.”

“When you have aggressive Russia and Ukraine, you’ve got a growing threat of China in the Pacific… how am I going to look at our allies in the eye and say, I need you to increase your defense budget, but yet America is going to decrease ours?” he said.

Democrats are expected to vote against the package. The vote is scheduled to take place on Monday night.

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