(WASHINGTON) — House business has been brought to a halt as the standoff continues between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and hard-line conservatives over McCarthy’s handling of the debt ceiling deal.
McCarthy, who said he was surprised by the House Freedom Caucus revolt Tuesday on a procedural move to prevent gas stove bans, said it’s his intention to hold more votes Wednesday, but none have been scheduled.
“We’re talking through it. I think we’ll get … through it,” McCarthy said.
The speaker added, “We can’t hold up the work for the American people. I can’t believe someone would want to hold up not allowing people to pick their own oven or stove they’d like to have.”
Several members of the House Freedom Caucus joined 208 Democrats in voting down a rule to take up legislation to prohibit the federal government from banning gas stoves. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in January it had no plans to ban gas stoves, similar efforts have advanced at the state level, such as a law in New York banning natural gas stoves and furnaces in most new buildings.
“I feel blindsided. … Yesterday was started on something else, ” McCarthy said, referring to a heated conversation between Rep. Andrew Clyde and Majority Leader Steve Scalise last week during the debt ceiling vote. McCarthy said it was a “miscalculation or misinterpretation.”
Members of the House Freedom Caucus were critical in holding up McCarthy’s speakership in January in exchange for concessions on House rules, including a stipulation that a single member could force a floor vote of no confidence in the speaker.
Last month, they came out adamantly opposed to the agreement between McCarthy and President Joe Biden to lift the debt ceiling and avert default and warned of a “reckoning” over the issue.
Tuesday’s vote was the first opportunity for the conference to express its dismay with the speaker, successfully blocking procedural step H.R. 463, which would have provided for the consideration of two resolutions aimed at staving off hypothetical federal gas stove bans.
McCarthy, though, offered a different take — branding the first rule vote failure in nearly 21 years as an opportunity to strengthen his speakership.
“I don’t think it [the rule] going down is a bad thing. … You all think that’s terrible; everything has to be perfect. I actually like to change things on its head,” he said, at one point comparing himself to Goldilocks in that he gets pushed on all sides.
McCarthy reiterated that he is not “worried” about his speakership as hardline conservatives continue to disrupt the GOP House agenda this week over the debt limit deal.
“We’ve been through this before. You know, we’re in a small majority. I didn’t take this job because it’s easy,” he said.
McCarthy said meetings are ongoing to find “a way that we come together.”
“The other thing too, I think a lot of you were beginning to not underestimate us when we had such a good victory last week. So, I think this kind of helps lower it again, so you’ll underestimate us, so we’ll have more victories. So, in the end, when I look back, this may be a very big positive thing,” he said.
ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler and Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.
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