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McCarthy and hardliners reach tentative agreement to resume House floor business

<i>Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images</i><br/>Hardline conservatives have agreed to end their blockade of the House floor while they continue discussions with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images
Hardline conservatives have agreed to end their blockade of the House floor while they continue discussions with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

By Melanie Zanona, Lauren Fox and Haley Talbot, CNN

(CNN) — Hardline conservatives have agreed to end their blockade of the House floor while they continue discussions with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about future spending decisions and a new “power-sharing agreement,” according to multiple members leaving the speaker’s office.

Conservatives who had voted against a procedural vote in retaliation for how GOP leadership handled the debt ceiling deal now say they are willing to support the procedural vote, after they received new commitments from McCarthy about how the California Republican plans to operate going forward, though they said the exact details are still being worked out and did not say whether they would ever be made public or put into a written statement.

“I think you’re gonna see an agreement to move forward in the next day or two on moving the legislation we wanted to move last week,” said Rep. Bob Good, a Virginia Republican who has repeatedly criticized McCarthy.

Rep. Ralph Norman, a South Carolina Republican, said of the nearly hourlong meeting in McCarthy’s office: “We aired our issues. We want to see this move forward as a body.”

Norman said one of the things McCarthy agreed to was to involve conservatives more directly in future decision making.

A group of hardline conservatives have held up legislative action in the GOP-led House for nearly a week in protest of the deal McCarthy struck with President Joe Biden to raise the nation’s borrowing limit last month. Conservatives wanted the debt ceiling deal to cut more federal spending than it did, and several far-right members of McCarthy’s conference accused him of reneging on commitments he made to them in private in order to win the speakership in January.

McCarthy told the hardliners Monday that he wouldn’t have cut the debt ceiling deal had he known it would “divide us,” according to a GOP source familiar with the meeting.

But McCarthy knew at the time that not all his members were going to be on board with the deal, with many of them publicly expressing their concerns with the direction of the talks.

One of the concessions McCarthy agreed to as part of Monday’s developments was an ironclad commitment to bring a pistol brace bill from GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia to the floor. Leadership has agreed to incorporate the bill, which would block a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rule on pistol braces, into an upcoming procedural vote.

That vote, which is slated for Tuesday, will now combine a rule for the pistol brace bill with a rule for a gas stoves bill as well as a bill to rein in the administration’s regulatory powers.

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said, “The power-sharing agreement that we entered into in January with McCarthy … it has to be renegotiated, so what happened on this debt ceiling bill never happens again.”

Specifically, Gaetz said the hardliners want more tools to put more “downward pressure on spending,” and want a return to fiscal 2022 spending levels.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger announced Monday night that her panel will take up spending bills that would roll back funding to the levels demanded by the hardliners, a move that could ease tensions between the group and McCarthy while generating backlash from the White House and Senate Democrats.

Gaetz said that while they’re willing to end their stand against the procedural vote this week, he warned that they’re willing to oppose future procedural votes if they don’t get their way.

“If there’s not a renegotiated power sharing agreement then perhaps we’ll be here next week,” he said.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania confirmed they’ve reached a “framework for moving forward” but did not provide details.

Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, leaving McCarthy’s office, said they have a path forward now but said there will be no votes in the House tonight, as they had previously planned.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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