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25 House Republicans defy leadership in key spending bill vote

The Hill logo The Hill 3/22/2018 Juliegrace Brufke

Twenty-five House conservatives bucked Republican leadership on Thursday by opposing a procedural motion that was needed to bring a $1.3 trillion government funding package to the floor.

Votes on what are known as rules in the House typically fall along party lines, with leaders viewing defections as a serious offense.

But outraged by the speedy vote on the more than 2,000-page funding bill - the text of which wasn't released until Thursday night - members of the House Freedom Caucus defied their leadership.

Their stand almost took down the rule, which passed 211-207 after Republicans gaveled it to a close despite several Democrats not having voted.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said the group never took an official position against the rule. But had it done so, he said, more GOP members would have defected.

"We purposely did not take a position in the Freedom Caucus on the rule," he told The Hill Thursday. "I think the number 25 is significant in that any majority in the House needs to make sure that they control the last 25 votes. And so I think that number is more of a statement than it is really anything else."

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Conservatives voiced concerns about both the process used to craft the omnibus and its content, arguing it lacked conservative wins and failed to deliver on the party's promises to voters.

Several conservatives attempted to introduce amendments in the House Rules Committee to negate some of the omnibus provisions they didn't agree with Wednesday, which were ultimately ruled out of order in committee.

Provisions providing funding for "sanctuary cities" and Planned Parenthood and language strengthening background checks for those looking to purchase firearms were some of the biggest sticking points.

"This is wrong. This is not the limited-government conservatism our voters demand. Our constituents - our employers - deserve better," Meadows said in a statement. "Members of the Freedom Caucus chose to vote no, because this omnibus doesn't just forget the promises we made to voters - it flatly rejects them."

Along with Meadows, the Republicans who voted against the rule were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Rod Blum (Iowa), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Warren Davidson (Ohio), John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.), Tom Garrett (Va.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Morgan Griffith (Virginia), Andy Harris (Md.), Jody Hice (Ga.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Ra l Labrador (Idaho), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Alex Mooney (W.Va.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Steve Pearce (N.M.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Mark Sanford (S.C.), Randy Weber (Texas), Daniel Webster (Fla.) and Ted Yoho (Fla.).

Almost all are members of the Freedom Caucus.

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