House passes new rules for Congress as McCarthy clears first major test as House speaker

Monday’s House of Representatives vote approved a new rules package that addresses key demands of conservative Republicans. It increases congressional spending controls and creates a more deliberate process to pass legislation.

The rules were passed by a 220-213 vote. Only one Republican voted against them, Rep. Tony Gonzales from Texas. After the last week’s fight for the Speaker’s job, Kevin McCarthy is now the House Speaker.

As part of a deal to win McCarthy votes, changes to the rules package were reached up to the eleventh hour. Roy, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), and Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), were pushing for these changes. Luna is a freshman congresswoman who stated last week at Capitol that the changes would be “transformational” and will outlast everyone in the room.

Rules include the end to proxy voting during the Pelosi era and require members to vote in person on the House floor.

Newly adopted rules include a provision that allows House Freedom Caucus Members to be granted three seats on the House Rules Committee. This committee determines how bills are brought before the House and can amend them.

Also, the package includes a return of a “Cut-As-You-Go” policy which states that legislation cannot be considered if increases in mandatory spending are made over a five- or 10-year period. The “CUTGO” policy requires that bills calling for new spending must offset spending cuts elsewhere in federal budgets. This is part of the GOP’s ambitious effort to end the accumulation of trillions of dollars of new debt each year.

In the days leading up to the vote, all but one GOP lawmaker supported it. Gonzalez stated that he could not support the bill because of its “anti-immigration” policies. Gonzalez is also opposed to any cuts to the Defense Department. However, there is no language within the rules package regarding that issue.

McCarthy and his team may push for a reduction in discretionary funding in the FY 2022 budget. However, some insist that this does not mean a decrease in defense programs.

Republican Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) have stated that this goal would not lead to cuts in defense spending.