EXCLUSIVE: Seven more members of the House Freedom Caucus are threatening to oppose Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to be the next House speaker unless they win concessions on congressional rules.
Freedom Caucus lawmakers told Fox News Digital that they want McCarthy, R-Calif., to start getting serious about concessions on these rules or risk losing their support. The GOP lawmakers, led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, outlined their demands in a letter circulated to colleagues late Thursday.
“The American people send us to Washington to do what we said we would do — namely, to limit spending and fight to advance a conservative agenda,” the lawmakers wrote. “We must organize ourselves to ensure there is a ‘check’ on the swamp and reform the status quo.”
Other members on the letter are Reps. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Andrew Clyde of Georgia. Newly elected Reps. Andy Ogles of Tennessee and Eli Crane of Arizona, who are not set to take office until Jan. 3, also signed it.
Topping the list of demands is a rules change to make it easier to remove the House speaker by allowing any lawmaker to offer a “motion to vacate the chair” at any point in time. This parliamentary tactic would force a vote on retaining the speaker, an insurance policy members of the Freedom Caucus want against McCarthy.
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“While difficult in practice, it is an important mechanism to restore trust and provide accountability,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers are demanding that all legislation focus on a single topic, be publicly available for 72 hours before a vote so that it can be read, and receive a full debate with the ability to offer and vote on amendments. Conservatives also want to see major pieces of legislation next Congress, from the farm bill to the national defense policy act, include provisions checking President Biden’s administration.
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“The Farm Bill must reform food stamp welfare programs and block Chinese government land-buying,” the lawmakers wrote. “Appropriations bills must utilize the power of the purse to actually stop the border insurgency, restore energy freedom, and/or block the hiring of more IRS personnel to harass Americans.”
Outside of legislation, the Freedom Caucus members want more representation on key panels, including the House Rules Committee, which prepares legislation for the floor and decides which amendments can get a vote. They also want McCarthy to create a new oversight panel to probe whether the federal government’s powers have become weaponized for political gain by President Biden and Democrats.
“We must have a clear policy — and that message must be sent to leadership-affiliated PACs — to avoid undermining the trust of those they will eventually have to lead and inserting themselves into local elections,” the lawmakers wrote.
The seven Freedom Caucus lawmakers want to bar GOP leaders and their affiliated political action committees from Republican primaries.
While the lawmakers understand that not all the demands will be met, at least a few have to be accepted in exchange for their support.
“We believe these should form the basis of any conversation about our leadership and without regard to any one request, the totality of the requests must be addressed if we are to truly unite as a conference,” the lawmakers wrote.
McCarthy, who is the GOP designee for House speaker, is not in a position to ignore the demands. The California Republican is already facing public opposition from five other GOP lawmakers in his bid to become speaker.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on the letter.
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The opposition is potentially problematic given that the GOP is slated to hold a narrow 222-213 majority next year, and at least 218 votes are needed to elect a speaker when the House convenes on Jan. 3.