The 118th U.S. House of Representatives took its first legislative action Monday evening, adopting a controversial rules package honed partly in Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s quest to become speaker.
The new provisions will govern how the House will operate, including a provision that allows any one member to call for a vote to oust the speaker.
Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzalez was the only Republican to vote against the rules. No Democrats voted in favor as it passed 220-213.
In an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Gonzalez said he would oppose the rules package because it includes a “billion dollar cut” in the defense budget.
“When you have aggressive Russia and Ukraine, you’ve got a growing threat of China in the Pacific, you know, I’m going to visit Taiwan here in a couple of weeks, how am I going to look at our allies in the eye and say, I need you to increase your defense budget, but yet America is going to decrease ours,” he said.
Gonzalez supported McCarthy’s bid to become speaker, but was among many lawmakers concerned with McCarthy’s concessions to the so-called Freedom Caucus to secure his position. The far-right sect of the House held out from supporting McCarthy, R-Calif., through 14 failed votes.
The new procedures adopted Monday include the adoption of the Holman Rule, which was introduced by William Holman, the chair of the appropriations committee, in 1876. It allows the House to reduce the amount of money in a bill, the salaries of U.S. officials and the compensation of anyone paid by the U.S. Treasury Department.
In its early years, lawmakers were concerned that the Holman Rule gave too much power to the appropriations committee.
One resolution in the rules will establish a select subcommittee on the “weaponization of the federal government.” This panel would be privy to House Intelligence Committee information and be given the power to oversee investigations carried out by the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations.
“What I’m not concerned about is not just what’s written down here,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., according to The New York Times.
“I’m concerned by the backroom deals that Speaker McCarthy made with the Freedom Caucus in exchange for their votes.”
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