February 29, 2024

Leading House conservatives warned Speaker Kevin McCarthy against giving in to the White House in debt limit negotiations, a sign of the challenges he faces in winning support from his right flank over any deal he cuts with President Joe Biden. 

Members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus demanded that McCarthy stop negotiating with Biden and instead push for the Senate to pass the GOP bill that passed the House last month.

Several members told CNN that McCarthy must not accept a deal that rolls back their proposal. And they warned McCarthy against putting a bill on the floor that could lose a majority of House Republicans and win the support of most Democrats.

“That side over there is the one that hasn’t passed anything,” Rep. Scott Perry, who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, said of the Senate. “And you keep asking us what we’re willing to accept. What we’re willing to accept is what we passed last month. That’s why we passed it. They haven’t passed anything, yet you keep asking us what we want to do, what we’ll take. What we’ll take is what we passed.”

Perry added: “What we’re not fine with is them just complaining about what we passed, having brought nothing to the table, and then demanding that we take less when they haven’t offered a thing. They have offered nothing to solve this.”

Virginia Rep. Bob Good, another member of the House Freedom Caucus, said the Senate needs to pass the House bill.

“The speaker has the responsibility to speak for the House majority and he’s doing that. I think he knows which majority of his conference is, and that is that we could get to a debt ceiling increase with 217 votes with the reforms and the cuts that we have in place. And our position hasn’t changed that the Senate needs to pass the House bill,” Good said.

Rep. Byron Donalds, another member of the bloc of conservatives, told CNN “yes” it would be problematic if a majority of House Republicans opposed a debt limit bill and McCarthy had to rely on Democrats.

“If the majority of the majority is not happy, would Nancy Pelosi ever do that? Nope,” he said.

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