McCarthy wins first tests after party fight over speaker

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(NewsNation) — House Republicans were operating decidedly different Monday than they were the week prior, approving a set of rules for the next two years and passing the first piece of legislation in the new session of Congress.

It’s unclear how long it will last.

Republicans showcased the possible intraparty fights to come last week during a showdown over the selection of speaker of the House, which Rep. Kevin McCarthy ultimately won. But he had to make major concessions to get it, acquiescing to a group of conservative holdouts who were demanding the ability for a vote of no confidence to be triggered by only one member, among other items.

That set off a four-day fight that needed 15 rounds of voting to resolve. Monday’s actions required substantially fewer.

The conference approved the rules package containing McCarthy’s concessions by a 220-213 vote, nearly entirely along party lines. Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas was the only Republican to vote against the rules package after raising concerns about possible defense budget cuts.

The most controversial provision included in the resolution is the single-member motion to vacate the chair, which allows one lawmaker to force a vote on ousting the speaker.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), a McCarthy holdout who flipped his vote on the 14th ballot, hailed the single-member motion to vacate during debate on the House floor.

“Of the many victories we secured for the American people, the Thomas Jefferson motion to vacate the chair is the most important to me as it holds the speaker accountable to the people,” he said.

After passing the rules package, Republican moved to deliver on a campaign promise and repealed the bulk of a funding boost for the Internal Revenue Service. Passed in August as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Democratic package worth $79.6 billion over 10 years was expected to fund 87,000 additional agents, roughly doubling the size of the agency.

The IRS said at the time the money was expected to go toward efforts to crack down on wealthy tax evaders and to modernize its technology. Democrats said the IRS investment is needed to ensure that corporations and wealthier Americans pay what they owe in taxes.

Republicans have repeatedly falsely claimed the 87,000 new IRS employees, who would be added over the course of a decade, would be “agents.”

The 87,000 figure comes from a May 2021 Treasury Department compliance report estimating new hires over a decade with the $80 billion funding boost. But only a small portion of the department’s current employees are agents, and the department has said the figure accounts for other workers such as customer service representatives and computer scientists, as well as replacements for the 52,000 employees expected to retire or resign within the next six years.

The bill stands little chance in the Senate, and the White House said in a statement Monday that President Joe Biden would veto it if it came to his desk.

The Hill contributed to this report.

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