Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) indicated Tuesday he would support moving the bill to raise the debt limit to the floor for a full House vote, a pivotal step as House leaders race to rally enough support to send the bill to the Senate this week.
Massie, one of nine Republicans on the House Rules Committee, had been holding out on taking a firm stance on the bill, which includes some of Republicans’ desired spending reductions and other provisions.
The Kentucky Republican opened his remarks during the committee’s review of the bill by clarifying with colleagues that the bill did indeed make a small cut to this year’s discretionary spending and that it included his provision about restoring “regular order” to fund the government later in the year.
He said the fact that the provision made it into the debt limit bill, called the Fiscal Responsibility Act, was “remarkable.”
Massie’s provision, which a couple House Freedom Caucus members say they, too, favor, would push the House to fund the government through 12 appropriation bills rather than one omnibus bill later in the year.
“If we want to control the overall amount of spending … then that’s our opportunity,” Massie said.
I don’t like this process that led to this bill. I’m not going to lie, sending one person to go into a room with another person and no cameras there, and then they come out and say up or down, take it or leave it. That is not a good process, but that’s not the process we’re going to follow when we get to the appropriations and there are things to dislike and things to like about this bill but the redeeming portion for me is section 102.
“I anticipate voting for this rule,” Massie concluded.
The spending hawk became known this year for wearing a debt limit counter on his suit jacket, which shows the national debt has reached $31 trillion.
Massie was one of three stalwart conservatives Republicans sought to place on the Rules Committee, along with Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Ralph Norman (R-SC), as part of agreements made during the contentious speaker race in January.
Roy and Norman have been vocal opponents of the bill. They argue that raising the debt ceiling through January 2025 cancels out any substantive spending cuts and that the bill pales in comparison to the GOP-preferred Limit, Save, Grow Act that the House passed in April, though the White House said it would veto this bill.
Roy, in a viral message on Monday, said all nine Republicans would need to agree to reporting out rules on a bill but that seven would need to vote in favor of the rules. Some Republican leaders have since disputed this comment, and it is not publicly written in the House rules.
A reminder that during Speaker negotiations to build the coalition, that it was explicit both that nothing would pass Rules Committee without AT LEAST 7 GOP votes – AND that the Committee would not allow reporting out rules without unanimous Republican votes. #DebtCeiling
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) May 29, 2023
While the committee was still discussing the debt limit bill and had amendments and other procedural feats to overcome through Tuesday evening, Massie’s comments on the bill suggested it would likely make it to the full House floor for a vote despite Roy’s and Norman’s positions.
Republican leaders, who have been confident they will see at least a majority of the House GOP support the bill, plan to bring it to the floor Wednesday night.