The Memorial Day Weekend debt deal Speaker Kevin O. McCarthy negotiated with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. may turn out to be his political Katrina, as House Freedom Caucus member and Virginia Republican congressman told radio host John Fredericks McCarthy had driven House conservatives to begin preparations for forcing a vote on the California Republican’s job security.
“The next two weeks, the next three weeks will be more intense,” Rep. Bob Good said. “More challenging, I believe, than the speaker battle. The stakes are extremely high; the pressure’s going to be tremendous.”
Good said he hopes people appreciate what it will take for House conservatives to stand up to the GOP leadership.
“The American people need to recognize there will be some courageous warriors who are not willing to go along to get along, not willing to sign on to the status quo, and they’re going to get blamed for being troublemakers, obstructionists being difficult, but there’s too much at stake for the country,” the Virginian said.
In June, McCarthy’s deal to raise the debt ceiling that he negotiated with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. steadily lost support from House Republicans as members had time to read through its provisions.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act was negotiated secretly and came out after the speaker and his negotiation team told congressmen to go home for the Memorial Day weekend because the deal was not close.
Even as the final debt deal was being settled, McCarthy was still telling reporters that he was content to stand by the debt ceiling bill Republicans passed in April. That bill rescinded the $80 billion for new IRS agents. Senate Republicans helped the president during the lame duck, among other conservative priorities.
The McCarthy-Biden deal rescinded the bulk of the president’s fiscal year 2024 request for new IRS agents—House conservatives were livid when they realized that budget cut left the new $80 billion for the IRS untouched because that funding was part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
McCarthy not only promised to rescind the new IRS agents if Republicans gained control of the House, but it was the first bill the speaker passed in the new congressional session.
When House conservatives balked at passing the McCarthy-Biden, the speaker reached out to House Democrats to get the votes, so the deal, which, among other things, uncapped the debt until January 2025, passed with 71 House Republicans voting against it and 46 House Democrats giving the speaker his winning margin.
Good said that if McCarthy goes back to the playbook that got his debt ceiling passed, it will be difficult for him to continue as the speaker.
“I think that if the speaker goes along with the Democrats and betrays the trust the country has placed in us as Republicans,” he said. “I do not believe that’s a sustainable option for him as a speaker.”
The congressman said McCarthy’s future is now part of the conversation.
“There are other colleagues who’ve spoken to that effect, as you know, in recent days,” he said.
“I just don’t think that is a sustainable path forward because that’s not why the 14 of my friends who made an agreement with him to change their votes to vote for him,” he said.
“We didn’t come to Washington to continue the same old, same old, but yet what we’ve always got, the country can’t afford it—it’s time for transformational change,” he said.
“We have the ability to pass Republican bills to do our job, to implement the priorities that we ran on, the policies we ran on, the convictions we ran on when we asked for everybody’s vote back last November.”
“We didn’t come to Washington to continue the same old, same old, but yet what we’ve always got, the country can’t afford it—it’s time for transformational change.”