By David Morgan
WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – A group of hardline Republicans has put new U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on notice that he can no longer count on their support for legislation, signaling a possible early end to his “honeymoon” period.
Three weeks after the Louisiana lawmaker won the gavel of the House of Representatives, 19 House Republicans – including 15 hardliners – voted to block debate on their party’s bill to fund federal programs on commerce, justice and science for fiscal 2024, which began on Oct 1.
“We want the message to be clear,” said Representative Scott Perry, chairman of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus. “We’re not going to pass bills that don’t address the problems that America faces.”
It was the second floor protest this year by Freedom Caucus members and others, who were angered by Johnson’s decision not to include spending cuts and conservative polices such as U.S.-Mexico border restrictions in his stopgap measure to avert a partial government shutdown on Saturday.
“The honeymoon is probably over,” said Representative Nick LaLota, one of four Republicans from New York swing districts who also opposed opening debate on Wednesday because of abortion restrictions and law enforcement spending cuts in the underlying legislation.
Johnson’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Some hardliners who opposed Johnson on Wednesday also shut down the House floor in June to protest against a 2024 spending deal between President Joe Biden and then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was forced to adjourn the chamber days early.