WASHINGTON >> Right-wing House Republicans dealt another stunning rebuke to Speaker Kevin McCarthy this morning, blocking a Pentagon funding bill for the second time this week in a vivid display of GOP disunity on federal spending that threatens to lead to a government shutdown in nine days.
Just hours after McCarthy signaled that he had won over some of the holdouts and was ready to move forward, a handful of Republicans broke with their party to oppose the routine measure that would allow the military appropriations bill to come to the House floor for debate, joining with Democrats to defeat it.
It was a major black eye for McCarthy, who has on multiple occasions admonished his members in private for taking the rare step of bringing down such votes, known as rules, proposed by their own party — a previously unheard-of tactic. And it signaled continuing right-wing resistance to funding the government, even after the speaker had capitulated Wednesday night to demands from hard-right Republicans for deeper spending cuts as part of any bill to prevent a shutdown.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” McCarthy said today. “It doesn’t work.”
The final vote was 216-212 against the rule to allow the military spending measure to proceed. All Democrats voted against it, given their opposition to the funding levels in the bill and other provisions that were added by Republicans who say they need to eliminate “woke” policies in the military.
Joining in the Republican defections from their party were Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Eli Crane of Arizona, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Rosendale of Montana. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the chair of the Rules Committee and an ally of McCarthy, ultimately voted “no” as well so that he would have the ability to request that the vote be reconsidered, a step he took immediately after it was defeated.
It was not clear what McCarthy, who had ordered members to stay in town through Saturday to pass spending legislation, would do next. He huddled in his office this afternoon with members of his leadership team.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.