New Congress reconvenes to vote on House rules

Kevin McCarthy celebrates with the speaker’s gavel after being elected as House speaker early on Saturday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Speaker Kevin McCarthy will soon face his his first test Monday in governing the House with a narrow majority, with lawmakers set to take up their first order of institutional business when the chamber reconvenes at 5 p.m. ET after a week-long protracted speaker’s vote battle ate up the clock last week. 

Why this matters: The package governs how the 118th Congress will operate, and includes provisions that were agreed to by McCarthy in his quest to obtain the speaker’s gavel, including allowing a single member of the chamber to call for a vote ousting the speaker. McCarthy can only lose four votes total. 

At least two House Republicans — Tony Gonzales of Texas and Nancy Mace of South Carolina — have balked at the package. Gonzales tweeted late last week that he would be voting no, and Mace told CBS that she’s “on the fence” saying she does not want defense cuts and that some members “don’t know what deals were made.” On Monday afternoon, Mace’s office said the South Carolina Republican would vote for the rules package 

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise laid out the rest of the floor agenda in their first week with a functioning majority, planning to advance a bevy of bills on taxes, abortion and energy – while creating two select committees, one to focus on China and the other on the Justice Department and the FBI. 

But the House will first need to approve a rules package, which expected to come to the floor for debate and possible passage when the chamber returns Monday evening.