House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed exasperation with a small group of his fellow Republicans on Thursday, saying he is not sure what they want to get out of ongoing funding negotiations.
House lawmakers are debating funding for the Department of Defense this week, and McCarthy claims he has members who have “no complaint” about the bill but still oppose it. Meanwhile, members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) say they have made their demands clear and blame GOP leadership for refusing to go toe-to-toe with Democrats in a government shutdown.
“Yeah, I don’t understand how members, they have no complaint about the DOD bill. But they don’t want to pass it. I got a small group of members who don’t want to vote for CR, don’t want to vote for individual bills and don’t want to vote for an Omni. I’m not quite sure what they want,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News on Thursday.
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McCarthy made the public comment ahead of a private meeting with fellow Republicans. After the meeting, McCarthy told reporters that he “showed frustration” with his colleagues.
“Nobody wins in a government shutdown. Nobody wins. I’ve been here. But what we want to do is we want to be able to win the policies that we’ve been fighting for and telling the American public we want to make sure our border becomes secure. We want to stop the runaway spending,” he said.
McCarthy went on to say he is not concerned about threats from a handful of Republicans to file a motion to vacate against him.
“If it takes a fight, I’ll have a fight,” he said.
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Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, responded to McCarthy during a radio appearance with Glenn Beck on Thursday just after the closed-door meeting. He referenced demands about border security and President Biden’s use of the federal bureaucracy.
“I just came out of a Republican conference meeting, and it wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” Roy said of the negotiations. “Your Republican conference, all too happy to campaign on border security, won’t do a damn thing about it.”
“We have to use the power of the purse to force change. So we are trying to force Kevin and the leadership of the Republican conference to understand that now’s the time to force Biden to come to the table. They’re so afraid of a shutdown that they are unwilling to, you know, stand up and lock arms and tell President Biden, ‘No more,'” he added.
Roy’s office has previously pointed to a letter from the HFC last month detailing their demands for the budget battle. It said they will oppose any budget move that does not include the House-passed “Secure the Border Act of 2023,” address the “weaponization” of the Justice Department and FBI, as well as end “the Left’s cancerous woke policies in the Pentagon.”
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McCarthy emerged from Thursday morning’s contentious meeting and announced that the House will reconvene next week and will not leave until the government has been funded.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
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The Republican in-fighting comes just days after McCarthy announced an impeachment inquiry against Biden, a long-sought priority for HFC members.
Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this report