Why Five Republicans Voted Against Funding the Pentagon
Five Republicans voted alongside every Democrat to sink their own bill to fund the Pentagon as the House GOP conference remains divided over a series of measures needed to finance the government through the next fiscal year. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has until the end of September to strike a deal between his party’s most conservative members and moderates representing Democratic-leaning congressional districts to pass 12 appropriations bills funding the federal government.
Finding a consensus on these bills has been challenging, due to the GOP’s slim majority in the House of Representatives, which requires the speaker to keep nearly the entire conference together to pass any legislation, barring support from Democrats. McCarthy sought to begin debate on the first of these appropriations bills, the legislation to fund the Department of Defense (DoD), typically viewed as one of the less controversial ones.
However, the House voted 214-212 against opening debate on the Department of Defense (DoD) bill, delivering a blow to McCarthy’s leadership. House conservatives have sought to ensure federal spending remained below $1.47 trillion, the number set in 2022, but lower than the $1.59 trillion cap agreed to by McCarthy and President Joe Biden in May.
The Republicans Who Voted Against Launching Debate
Here’s a list of the five Republican representatives who voted against launching debate:
- Andy Biggs (Arizona)
- Dan Bishop (North Carolina)
- Ken Buck (Colorado)
- Ralph Norman (South Carolina)
- Matt Rosendale (Montana)
Newsweek reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment via email on Tuesday. Bishop and Rosendale explained their votes in posts to X, formerly Twitter. “I took down the rule—as I vowed I would—because the Conference continues not to have moved twelve appropriations bills at the spending level agreed to in January. I assume leadership believes me now,” Bishop wrote. “For months, I have made it clear that in order for me to support the appropriations bills, we need to see the total value for all 12 bills. Leadership has yet to provide us with that number, which is why I voted against the rule this afternoon! Why are they keeping it a secret?” Rosendale wrote.
Biden-District Republicans Slam Conservatives Voting Down Defense Bill
Representative Mike Garcia, a California Republican, slammed the group of conservative lawmakers for voting down the bill during a press conference with other Republicans to reporters Tuesday afternoon. “What we just witnessed was a conservative Republican Party, look and behave like the minority instead of the majority. What we just saw were five individuals vote against the rule to bring to the floor for a vote, the most conservative DoD bill in modern history,” he said, according to Punchbowl News journalist Max Cohen.
Garcia is among a group of Republicans representing Democratic-leaning congressional districts that Biden won in 2020. Many of these lawmakers have staked out more moderate positions, and have largely backed McCarthy’s efforts to pass the appropriations bills.
Representative Mike Lawler, who represents a Biden-won New York congressional district, also voiced aggravation with the five Republicans. “There’s certainly a level of frustration with what some of our colleagues are doing in terms of how they are going about negotiating within the conference,” he said, Punchbowl News reported. Lawler earlier Tuesday slammed his more conservative colleagues’ efforts to block the funding bills in remarks to CNN, warning that Republicans will continue finding themselves “in this position” if they “keep running lunatics.” “This is not conservative Republicanism. This is stupidity. The idea that we’re going to shut the government down when we don’t control the Senate. We don’t control the White House,” he said.