Hard-line conservatives in the House sank a procedural vote on a Pentagon funding bill Tuesday, a significant setback for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Five Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the rule for the appropriations bill, bringing the final vote to 212-214 — short of the majority support needed.
The conservative opposition — Reps. Dan Bishop (N.C.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) — prevents the House from debating the legislation on the floor and, subsequently, voting on whether to pass it.
The failed vote came hours after House GOP leadership pulled a procedural vote on the conference’s proposal for a short-term funding bill amid opposition from hard-line conservatives — another setback for McCarthy.
The House has less than two weeks to extend government funding past Sept. 30 or risk a shutdown.
Votes on rules — which govern debate for legislation — are typically routine, mundane matters, with the majority party supporting the effort and the minority party opposing it. It is exceedingly rare to see them voted down on the floor.
But Tuesday, a band of conservatives broke from that convention on the Pentagon appropriations bill as they demand steeper spending cuts as part of the appropriations process.
Norman told reporters ahead of the vote that he planned to oppose the rule because leadership has not yet presented him with the topline numbers across all 12 appropriations bills.
House GOP leadership initially hoped to vote to advance the legislation a week ago, but punted that vote after conservatives pushing for deeper spending cuts said they would oppose the legislation — which would have likely tanked the effort.
Over the weekend, though, McCarthy vowed to bring the bill to the floor “win or lose, and show the American public who’s for the Department of Defense, who’s for our military, who’s for giving them a pay raise and who’s for making sure we can take the wokeism out.”
A GOP rule failed on the floor in June amid a conservative revolt over spending levels. Prior to that, it had been more than 20 years since a rule had failed on the floor.