A growing bloc of House Republicans is urging Speaker Kevin McCarthy to consider demands beyond the budget — like energy permitting — in the party’s opening offer to Democrats on raising the debt limit.

While many GOP lawmakers say they’ve stayed intentionally mum on how their party leaders should proceed with talks, a growing number are now floating their own ideas to stem the looming fiscal crisis. One idea that’s been gaining traction recently is linking the debt limit debate to the GOP’s proposal to speed up energy permitting, according to interviews with roughly a half dozen lawmakers.

“I think permitting’s got to be part of the debt limit discussion,” said Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), who chairs the Republican Policy Committee and sits on McCarthy’s leadership team.

House Republicans see plenty of upside in attaching energy permitting to debt talks. In addition to giving them a guaranteed policy win, pushing through a permitting bill that already has keen interest from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is preparing for a potentially brutal 2024 reelection bid.

The Republican Study Committee, the House GOP’s biggest group, has gone even further in its advocacy of the move. It recently polled its 175 members about their priorities for the looming debt talks and found that members’ top priority for inclusion was energy permitting.

“It has tons of momentum,” Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who leads that group, said in a brief interview. “That’s certainly pro-growth to keep our jobs here, and have less dependency on foreign governments and don’t send money elsewhere.”

Most of the conference is working hard to publicly give McCarthy space as the California Republican tries to force President Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate to come to the table, with the deadline for raising the debt limit drawing ever closer. But privately, Republicans across the conference are clearly interested in landing one of their biggest energy agenda items in return for what many view as an inevitable political reality — that some of them will have to vote to raise the country’s spending limit later this year.

“This is the litmus test of whether we’re serious to get energy independent. I think we will,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), when asked about linking the GOP’s energy permitting bill to its debt offer.

It’s unclear whether Democrats would be willing to engage, Norman added, but “we’re gonna give it a shot.”

The idea has an added political bonus for GOP leadership: While plenty of fiscal fights divide House Republicans’ narrow majority, the idea of attaching speedier energy project approvals to the debt talks creates rare unity among what the speaker has dubbed the conference’s “five families,” from the conservative Freedom Caucus to the more moderate, business-oriented Main Street Caucus.

“That’s certainly something a large number of members would be supportive of,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), chair of the latter of those two groups, when asked about linking permitting with debt discussions.

While McCarthy has said nothing publicly on the issue so far, some in his inner circle have discussed the issue and believe it is a “real possibility,” according to one person in GOP leadership who spoke on condition of anonymity. Still, it’s not the only policy demand being discussed: Several lawmakers have pointed to other things they’d like to be included, such as work requirements or border restrictions.

There’s at least one reason that more Republicans are suddenly more interested in speaking publicly on their party’s opening bid on the debt limit — recent moves by the Freedom Caucus. The Donald Trump-aligned group surprised many in the conference earlier this month when they released their own list of demands in the debt discussions, putting down the first formal GOP marker in the talks.

And some GOP lawmakers privately said they were unhappy that their colleagues had gotten ahead of McCarthy, particularly with such big policy asks.

A portion of the GOP is more skeptical, though, insisting that Republicans already have strong leverage to get their permitting push over the finish line, given Democrats’ intense interest in the subject.

“I think it needs to be something more than that. I think you can probably get permitting on its own because it’s such tremendous bipartisan support,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.).

And House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) said that while he had heard increasing chatter about the proposal, it was too early in the conversations to know what might be included.

“I think everybody’s looking at what we can do with the debt limit to actually address the debt crisis. We know that if we develop energy and mining here in the U.S., that would mean more revenue, more jobs,” Westerman said.

Westerman added that he believed the permitting push could, indeed, help the debt crisis by increasing revenue and increasing jobs: “I think it’s real, because it’s being discussed. But is it going to be the thing on the debt limit?”

Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.

A gun rights hearing on Capitol Hill escalated Thursday into a verbal altercation between two lawmakers amid the arrest of a parent whose son died in 2018’s Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

The fracas during a joint hearing held by the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees began when Patricia and Manuel Oliver shouted aloud about their son Joaquin’s death before being removed by Capitol Police at the request of Reps. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

“You took away my son,” Patricia Oliver shouted over Fallon talking about gun violence rates in Mexico compared to the U.S., according to video of the proceedings.

“You’re removed. You’re breaching protocol and disorder in the committee room,” Fallon told Patricia Oliver, as she continued to speak about her son, who was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. After Joaquin Oliver’s death, his parents co-founded a gun reform group and have previously staged civil disobedience actions.

After the Olivers were removed by Capitol Police from the Rayburn hearing room, two officers pinned Manuel Oliver to the ground in the process of making an arrest, putting his face on the floor.

“Back up or you’ll go to jail next,” one officer shouted at Patricia, in response to her speaking to the officers and leaning over the arrest, according to video of the incident. The second officer kicked Patricia away. Patricia eventually made her way back into the committee room while the panel was called into recess.

“It was really awful,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) “They took them out of the room, and there was a sound like there was some big scuffle in the hallway.”

Fallon, who chaired the committees’ joint hearing on the Second Amendment, said it was unclear to him why the Oliver arrest occurred. He described hearing “a lot of ruckus” in the hallway from his position on the dais.

Then, during the panel’s brief recess, Cicilline and Fallon had a verbal altercation over the Olivers’ removal — a clash that Fallon described as more of “an intellectual exercise.”

The Democrat, however, maintained in an interview after the hearing that during the break Patricia Oliver had the right to “speak as loudly as she wants.”

Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) tweeted his disappointment with how the scene played out, accusing Fallon of “escalating” the situation and saying the Olivers should have gotten a warning. (Immediate removal is standard practice for disruptive attendees at congressional hearings.)

Frost ran out of the hearing and witnessed the arrest of Manuel Oliver, asking “what’s going on here?” and being repeatedly told to “get back sir” by the police.

The first-term lawmaker and gun safety activist, who got his start in the wake of the Parkland shooting in his home state, declined to comment following the arrest.

“Anyone who disrupts a Congressional hearing and disregards a law enforcement officer’s orders to stop are going to be arrested,” Capitol Police spokesperson Tim Barber said in a statement to POLITICO.

Capitol Police say that Manuel Oliver refused to stop shouting and attempted to get back into the hearing room, which resulted in the arrest. He was not put in jail, but cited and released.

Patricia Oliver was not arrested, according to the Capitol Police, “because she followed the lawful directions of our officers.”

Fallon said he would look into if any lawmakers encouraged Patricia Oliver to reenter the committee room, saying that such a move could “lead to censure that could lead to removal from committees.”

Nicholas Wu and Olivia Beavers contributed.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowed to open up the House floor to more freewheeling debate. Now he’s finding out how hard it is to keep that promise.

As the GOP prepares to bring up a pair of marquee bills on energy and education, McCarthy and his leadership team are knee-deep in proposed amendments from their own party that — if adopted — could tank both pieces of legislation outright.

“That’s the advantage, or disadvantage, of having open amendments. We’ll see how it rolls out. This would be the first true test,” Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) said. He called it a stark turnaround from past years, when members complained they lacked “buy-in” on key votes.

Senior Republicans say they ultimately have the votes to pass both the energy and education bills on the floor. But that’s only after an aggressive whip operation by McCarthy’s leadership team, including Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), to assuage concerns about the flood of amendments.

That kind of last-minute scrambling to lock down votes is likely to be the norm for Republican leadership over the next two years, as the party fights to tether its disparate wings together on broad promises the GOP focused on in its push to reclaim the House majority. And none of it will be easy, given that the party has just four votes to spare on any measure coming to the floor — not to mention a Democratic caucus eager to exploit the fissures across the aisle.

Republicans’ worries are particularly acute when it comes to the education measure they have dubbed the “parents’ bill of rights.” A bloc of House moderates, for example, privately raised alarms about a proposed amendment to the education bill from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) that would effectively gut the Department of Education, banning it from handling “any office or program related to elementary or secondary education.”

But just before the bill came to the floor on Thursday, Massie’s amendment got tweaked to mollify those moderates’ concerns.

The GOP’s balancing act doesn’t apply only to amendments. House Republicans are facing headwinds on another major priority: how to frame their underlying bill designed to address boosting security at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On one side, there’s Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who’s pushing a bill to severely restrict migration into the U.S. But on the other side are Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), Mario Diaz Balart (R-Fla.) and their allies — who are more moderate on the issue and fear Roy’s bill could ultimately bar asylum claims.

Roy and Gonzales’ feud has appeared to devolve from policy disagreements to personal grudges, enough so that GOP leadership has spoken to both Texans to try to smooth other matters, according to one senior House Republican who was granted anonymity to speak freely about internal conversations.

And with that border bill in flux, so too is the Judiciary Committee’s long-anticipated hearing on it.

Roy, who sits on Judiciary, said he still expects the panel to take up his bill next week.

“There have been some conversations about figuring out timing. But look, the bill’s been ready. It continues to be ready. We ought to bring it up next week,” Roy said in an interview. While he declined to speak about his conversations with Gonzales, he said he believed GOP leaders would ultimately back him.

“I expect leadership to get fully behind it, and do what they need to do,” Roy said. “I expect we’ll vote on it next week. This is why leadership gets paid the big bucks. It’s their game now.”

While Roy and Gonzales have seemingly hit pause on their recent Twitter brawling, Republicans are skeptical that the two have closed the gap on their policy differences.

“I don’t think it changed anything. I mean, they are on different ends of the spectrum,” the senior House Republican said, adding that one possible solution getting discussed is to pursue “separate bills, and see which one has more support.”

Gonzales indicated that his colleague was correct, declining to confirm that leadership has intervened in his dispute with Roy and responding: “I try not to waste my time with people that try to waste my time.”

“Look, I have spent a lot of time being a reasonable actor in this whole deal. And I’m dealing with people that aren’t reasonable actors,” Gonzales added. “So guess what? The rules of the game have changed and the border security package that’s in Homeland Security has a long way to go before it gets my support.”

This undesirable option comes as the timeline to move on border policy is narrowing, with Republicans saying they need to start moving. The more pressing matter, though, is the GOP’s education bill, which will hit the floor later Thursday.

Days before that floor debate, McCarthy and his leadership team privately fielded concerns from multiple conference members about possible “poison pill” amendments, such as those relating to LGBTQ students or banning books. Some of those Republicans were under pressure from groups like the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, which opposes the “parents’ bill of rights” proposal and supports some centrist GOP lawmakers.

Another House Republican, this one closely allied with leadership, said members threatened a potential “jail break” before leadership addressed worries among various members had that the bill would disrupt the principle of federalism. This GOP member said leadership “substantially” reduced members’ concerns, particularly by telling them that the bill was designed to give parents information about theoretical rights rather than to directly interfere in local matters.

“Leadership has been aggressive in beating back the substantial concerns members had about federalism,” this Republican said, also addressing internal discussions candidly on condition of anonymity.

As the vote nears, GOP leaders believe they have resolved many of their internal concerns with the roughly 20 amendments from both parties that are expected to receive floor votes.

Still, Republicans will be watching a pair of amendments closely, both from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.): One states that parents must be informed if a school’s athletic programs allow transgender girls to play on a gender identity-aligned sports team, while the other requires parents to be informed if a transgender girl is allowed to use gender identity-aligned bathrooms.

A public break with former President Donald Trump has been career suicide for many an ambitious GOP lawmaker in recent years. It might just be a boon for Rep. Mike Gallagher.

Top party officials in D.C. and back home in Wisconsin maintain the fourth-term congressman and new head of the China Select Committee represents their best shot at flipping the battleground’s Senate seat in 2024.

There is just one thing they have to do first: convince him to run.

The 39-year-old former Marine is widely viewed as a rising star in the GOP thanks to his vocal stance on China policy and prolific fundraising. Beyond that, key Republicans say his criticism of Trump might just bolster his credibility with the very voters they’ve lost in recent cycles. His nomination would be a strong indication the party is shifting gears and learning the lessons from 2022.

Gallagher has been evasive about his plans. But people close to him say he’s not inclined to challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a formidable campaigner and fundraiser in her own right. And they also recognize that Gallagher’s break with Trump over Jan. 6, and recent insistence that the former president “lost [his] support,” will be tricky to navigate, particularly in a potentially messy primary, given Trump’s immense sway over the party in recent years.

Should Gallagher pass on the contest, it could not only hurt Republicans’ chances of claiming the Senate in 2024, it would further underscore the hurdles the party faces in finding a winning electoral formula in a post-Trump world.

In their bid to oust Baldwin, senior Wisconsin Republicans are eager to find a candidate who can bring back the independent and moderate Republican voters in key suburbs who broke with the former president in 2020 and several of his top picks in 2022.

There are some signs that the former president’s grip on the GOP is beginning to slip. He has failed to scare away other presidential primary candidates and recent polling shows he’d face stiff competition from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, among other potential contenders. In Wisconsin, where Ted Cruz beat Trump in the 2016 GOP primary, DeSantis led Trump in a hypothetical 2024 matchup with Biden, according to a Marquette Law Poll from late January. But Trump’s standing in national primary polls has improved since then. And an impending indictment in a hush-money case has compelled many in the party to rally around the former president once more.

One Wisconsin Republican close to Gallagher, who was granted anonymity to talk about their private conversations with him, brushed off the notion that his public break with Trump would hurt him significantly in a future GOP primary. The person noted that the congressman didn’t vote to impeach Trump or approve an independent commission to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Instead, the person said Gallagher’s relatively lean legislative record on Wisconsin issues is his biggest vulnerability.

“He hasn’t been all that focused on what’s been going on at home,” said the Republican, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. “If there’s an Achilles’ heel, it’s there, not Trump.”

Gallagher’s profile in the party has risen rapidly since he was first elected to Congress in 2016, the same year Trump took the White House — especially in his role as a leading voice on China policy. He burnished his hard-nosed stance as Trump took aim at China’s unfair trading practices and other malign activities, though the economic fallout from the ensuing trade war fell on U.S. agriculture, a top industry in Gallagher’s home state. Asked if he supported Trump’s recent campaign proposal that would levy more tariffs on Chinese goods, something that has raised alarm among some other farm state Republicans, the new head of the House China Select Committee said he wasn’t aware of the former president’s proposal to overhaul U.S. trade with China.

Despite his tensions with Trump, many Republicans are now openly suggesting Gallagher may be the party’s best chance to oust Baldwin, the battle-tested incumbent Democrat, who has already amassed a huge war chest.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is leading Senate Republicans’ effort to flip the chamber and has suggested he will help tap more mainstream candidates this cycle, did not hide his enthusiasm about the prospect of the congressman joining the race.

“Mike Gallagher would be a great candidate,” Daines said. “He’s the kind of candidate that with his distinguished service and then time in Congress, could win both the primary and general election.”

“If Mike got in, everybody would know that’s the total package,” said Brian Schimming, the state’s Republican party chair.

Trump’s specter looms, however. Republicans in Wisconsin expect the former president to campaign there around the time of the state GOP convention in June, if not earlier. And Republicans hold their national convention in Milwaukee in July 2024.

For now, Gallagher insists that he is focused on his high-profile new post as the House GOP’s preeminent China hawk, and not any potential future campaign.

Wisconsin Republicans close to the congressman describe him as “whip smart,” but also “incredibly risk averse” and “extremely deliberative,” sometimes to a point where he’s slow to make decisions. They expect him, however, to likely leave the House after his current or following term in Congress, given his push early in his congressional career to limit House members to six terms in office.

Those Republicans say Gallagher, who beat his last Democratic challenger by 30 points in one of the few semi-swing regions left in the state, is more interested in a 2028 bid to replace Ron Johnson, should the state’s current GOP senator retire as expected, or a possible 2026 gubernatorial run, rather than facing Baldwin, whose own retail politics and fundraising skills make her an intimidating foe.

Should a Republican other than Trump win the White House in 2024, Gallagher, a one-time foreign policy aide to former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign, may be inclined to pursue a role in the administration, according to a Wisconsin GOP lawmaker and another Republican who was granted anonymity to speak openly about their private conversations with Gallagher. A role like national security adviser, Navy secretary or secretary of State would allow him to better deploy his expertise on China and foreign policy.

“The opportunities for Mike become pretty wide,” said one of the Republicans.

As the Wisconsin GOP field waits on Gallagher to make his 2024 plans known, Baldwin has been making moves of her own. She’s preparing to formally launch her campaign shortly after Wisconsin’s closely-watched state supreme court race April 4, according to two people familiar with the plans who were granted anonymity to discuss private conversations. Long able to shake the national Democratic brand, Baldwin has consistently outperformed fellow Democrats in the state, including in Gallagher’s home district in the northeast, which spans the city of Green Bay, nearby suburbs and vast stretches of dairy farms, small towns and tribal lands.

Despite Baldwin’s past campaign success, senior Wisconsin Democrats believe her upcoming reelection race will be much closer, and won or lost on the margins like most statewide contests in recent years. Baldwin’s longtime aide Scott Spector is poised for a senior role in her reelect effort according to the two people with knowledge of the campaign plans.

Other possible GOP challengers who may jump in should Gallagher choose not to run include former state Sen. Roger Roth, who won the state’s Republican primary for lieutenant governor last August, according to people familiar with the plans.

Current Reps. Bryan Steil and Tom Tiffany, who has recently been traveling more within the state, have also been floated as possible candidates, especially if redistricting squeezes some members out of their seats. (Since the news of Trump’s possible indictment, Steil and other House GOP members have rushed to defend the former president through letters and on Twitter. Gallagher’s office has meanwhile avoided the subject, tweeting about student loans and local school sports state champions.) Trump’s former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was heavily involved in the midterms, sparking questions as to whether he was laying the groundwork for a run of his own.

David Clarke, a Trump acolyte and former Milwaukee Sheriff; former GOP Rep. Sean Duffy; former Senate and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson; and Eric Hovde, a wealthy Republican businessman who waged an unsuccessful Senate bid in 2012 are other names that have come up in conversations with GOP officials.

But another Wisconsin Republican acknowledged that many of those candidates “have already used up a lot of their political capital” in prior races. “It’s not a very deep bench.”

Gallagher now appears to be keeping everything in play.

Asked earlier this month on Capitol Hill if he had any interest in challenging Baldwin next year, Gallagher said, “My sole focus is on the select committee on the CCP not thinking about 2024.”

He took a few steps and added: “And providing the best constituent services for northeast Wisconsin.”

Senate Republicans have landed on a plan to avoid getting swamped by Democratic cash again next year: Find candidates whose bank accounts are already loaded.

So far, at least 10 candidates with sizable net worth are seriously considering self-funded Senate campaigns in more than a half-dozen swing states — many of them at the behest of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Both parties have relied on self-funders before. But this approach has taken on increasing importance for Republicans because they failed to counter Democrats’ massive grassroots fundraising in Senate races during the past two cycles. In 2022 alone, Democratic nominees outraised Republicans by $288 million in the six closest Senate races.

The strategy is also an acknowledgment that the party’s reliance on super PACs funded by its richest supporters has been insufficient. In the last two elections, Republicans were unsuccessful in stopping Democrats from nabbing a narrow majority in the upper chamber. Arming themselves with better-funded recruits, many of whom can give their campaigns tens of millions of dollars, could help them finally net the two seats needed to reclaim the gavel.

Potential self-funders for this cycle include: Tim Sheehy, the Montana founder of an aerospace company, Eric Hovde, a real estate executive in Wisconsin, and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a coal mining magnate.

“In politics as in life, money doesn’t buy happiness, but poverty doesn’t buy a damn thing,” said Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.). “So if you’ve got a candidate who can self fund, you can spend your money elsewhere.”

“Democrats are always going to outraise us,” he said.

There are no limits to how much candidates can donate or loan their own campaigns so a crop of rich recruits could offer a much-needed solution to the GOP’s now-systemic fundraising woes. The NRSC’s new chair, Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, has placed an emphasis on trying to secure candidates who are either exceptional at fundraising or personally wealthy, according to a source familiar with his thinking who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about strategy.

“It’s helpful,” Daines said in a brief interview. “We’ve got some work to do to catch up.”

In Wisconsin, Hovde, a businessman with experience in property development and banking, is seriously considering taking on incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, according to two sources familiar with his plans who were not authorized to publicly discuss them. He could inject an eight-figure sum into his bid against Baldwin, who raised some $33 million for her 2018 reelection.

Hovde, who made a failed Senate bid in 2012, also decided against a governor bid in 2022. This time he seems more likely to enter the fray. He has spoken with NRSC officials and has begun engaging potential staff.

“He’s thought about running for all kinds of offices,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), when asked about Hovde.

Some other well-funded potential recruits are also familiar names. Karrin Taylor Robson, an Arizona land-use attorney and developer, is considering a run for the seat currently held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), and David McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO, is weighing another run against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Both dipped into their own largesse for failed bids in 2022.

And in Michigan, Detroit-area businessman Kevin Rinke is considering a run for the state’s open Senate seat after investing $10 million in a losing governor run in 2022.

In Montana, the home of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, a top GOP target, Republican recruiters are eagerly courting Sheehy, a Navy SEAL-turned-aerial firefighting pilot. He is the founder of Bridger Aerospace, which was valued at $869 million last year. And in West Virginia, Justice, who is eyeing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s seat, was once reported to be a billionaire thanks to his coal mine empire. He has since experienced financial difficulties and is working to drill down sizable debts.

Both states have been top recruitment priorities for Daines.

Two self-funders are lining up to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio: Bernie Moreno, a car dealer-turned-tech executive who reported household assets worth tens of millions, and Matt Dolan, a state senator and a member of the family that owns the Cleveland Guardians. Dolan injected more than $10.5 million into his 2022 bid for an open Senate seat in the state and finished third in the primary. Dolan has declared a bid, while Moreno is considering one.

The GOP is well poised to recapture the Senate and West Virginia, Montana and Ohio are their top three targets. But fundraising problems have stymied them in the past. Democratic candidates’ financial advantage ballooned in 2022, ranging from $110.8 million in Georgia to $77.8 million in Arizona.

Republican super PACs consistently outraise their Democratic counterparts, especially on the Senate side. But Democrats’ candidate fundraising boom is still a major headache because candidates purchase TV ads at a discounted rate. Their money goes much farther in the final stretch of the campaign when both sides pummel the air waves.

“Republicans face an existential crisis that won’t be solved overnight, but we still need to figure out how to mitigate the damage in the short term,” said Kevin McLaughlin, the executive director of the NRSC in 2020. “Recruiting strong candidates who can both self-fund and win general elections is a great first step.”

The class of senators up in 2024 are no less prolific at fundraising. Baldwin, Brown, Tester and Casey all raised between $21 million and $33 million during the 2018 cycle. Only Brown’s GOP opponent, then-Rep. Jim Renacci, raised more than $8 million (and that was because he gave himself an $8 million loan).

Not all of the potential 2024 recruits are equally wealthy and there is certainly a difference between a candidate worth a billion dollars and one worth a couple hundred million. But even one or two candidates who are willing to make a significant investment can reduce the burden on the party committee and allied super PACs, which are then more free to spend in other races. It can also erase the cash-on-hand advantage that incumbent Democrats enjoy.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), for example, won his 2018 race by dropping more than $60 million of his own funds to oust Democrat Bill Nelson, setting the record for self-funding in a Senate campaign. But not every candidate will be as willing to part with their own cash. Even now, Scott said he would have welcomed more outside aid in his race.

“It’s always helpful to get more people to help you,” he said. “I wish there was more help.”

Several of the potential candidates — McCormick in Pennsylvania, Dolan in Ohio and Robson in Arizona — ran in 2022 and did not hesitate to invest. But none were able to win their respective primaries, a dynamic that could undermine the 2024 strategy.

McCormick spent some $14.3 million of his own funds (and raised another $5.9 million on his own). Robson spent more than $18 million from her accounts when she ran for governor last year.

The Senate GOP campaign arm has made no secret it would like McCormick to make another go after losing to Mehmet Oz in the 2022 primary. Oz also self-funded some $27 million, but was still unable to beat Democrat John Fetterman.

Robson, meanwhile, had a lengthy, wide-ranging meeting with Daines in March at the NRSC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to a person familiar with the encounter granted anonymity to discuss a private conversation who called it “productive” and said Robson left impressed by Daines and his team.

But both could still face primary competition from two MAGA-aligned candidates who also ran and lost in 2022: Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Kari Lake in Arizona. Lake beat Robson in a GOP primary for governor despite a large cash deficit.

Few major Senate races will avoid competitive primaries, which drain party resources. Should Justice enter the race in West Virginia, he will have to face Rep. Alex Mooney, a conservative hardliner. In Montana, a Sheehy candidacy could butt up against GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale, who ran and lost to Tester in 2018.

But it seems increasingly likely that another contender for Senate in Montana, Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who served as Donald Trump’s secretary of the Interior, won’t enter the race. In an interview this month, he said he had not made a decision but that his current focus was on his work on the Appropriations Committee, which he described as a “full-time job.” “I can’t run the Senate campaign and be in Appropriations,” he said.

And when asked about Sheehy, he was effusive with praise: “I love Tim Sheehy. I helped him with his Purple Heart ceremony. I love him.”

Holly Otterbein contributed to this report.

House conservatives are pushing their leaders on a politically doomed idea to lessen the blow of a U.S. debt default.

The GOP plan — which has no shot at passing the Senate, should it even get to the House floor — is designed to reduce global economic fallout if Congress fails to lift the nation’s borrowing cap in time to avoid default. It would do that by allowing the Treasury Department to exceed the limit to pay principal and interest to all U.S. debtholders, including foreign countries like Japan and China.

Despite Republicans’ refusal to lift the $31 trillion debt ceiling without substantial federal spending cuts, their leaders still haven’t delivered a specific proposal. In the meantime, some of the same players on the House GOP right flank who slowed Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid are pushing their own strategy to theoretically ease fiscal calamity if the ceiling is breached.

While Republican supporters bill the measure as a way of reducing blowback, Democratic leaders argue that even debating it fuels a risky and dishonest theory that it’s possible to avert irreparable economic damage without raising the debt limit. Since GOP lawmakers keep talking it up, however, Democrats are happy to exploit the tricky politics of the convoluted proposal.

“As a Democrat, I actually look forward to them voting to put foreign investors ahead of American families for payment,” said Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). “I’m not sure that’s the message they want to take to the public in 2024, but God bless them if they do.”

The reality that the GOP bill would prioritize foreign obligations over domestic bills, from paying the military to food stamps, might seem like a political gift to Democrats. But President Joe Biden’s party is also concerned about the effort for a wonkier reason, warning that it’s a ploy to make the public more comfortable with taking the country up to and even beyond, the debt-limit brink for the first time in history.

And Democrats say that attitude from their opponents could portend economic trouble this summer as investors gauge Congress’ appetite for risk.

“They are composing an imaginary world in which the debt limit has been breached and there is not catastrophe,” Whitehouse said. “This bill normalizes that. I think it’s a very dangerous thing.”

The House bill now awaits floor action after earning committee approval earlier this month from the chamber’s tax panel. A vote hasn’t been scheduled, but McCarthy promised it would come to the floor as part of his list of January commitments to lock in his leadership post.

Supporters of the bill are now seeking the same style of last-ditch, closed-door concessions on the debt limit, Whitehouse said, accusing Republicans of using the issue as a “hand grenade” to “force Biden into a back room where they can make some deal without the public knowing what they want.”

GOP leaders have added more exceptions to their plan, giving the Biden administration the authority to dole out Social Security and Medicare benefits by borrowing beyond the debt limit.

“I’m actually surprised my colleagues on the other side aren’t supportive of this legislation,” House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) said before his panel approved the measure this month. “After all, the bill says we will never default on our debt and seniors will always be protected.”

Under the bill, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would have to prioritize making payments to the Pentagon and veterans. But the secretary couldn’t borrow extra money to do so. Payments for items like government travel and lawmakers’ salaries would be put last.

Yellen and many Treasury secretaries before her have said government systems aren’t capable of carrying out an elaborate prioritization scheme, that adjusting millions of payments from the federal coffers each day would be logistically impossible. Plus, the bill’s opponents say freezing payments for government contractors, the entire federal workforce, retirees with government-backed pensions, state and local governments — and everything else besides Social Security, Medicare and U.S. debt holders — would be economically calamitous alone.

But arguments that the bill won’t become law and wouldn’t work anyway are minor, Democrats say, compared to the main point: the message it sends to the public.

“It is acknowledging that a default is okay, which is absolutely ridiculous and dangerous,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Small Business Committee.

“If we don’t pay our bills on time to anyone, it’s a default,” Cardin added. “The credit cost of the United States goes up immediately. Our bond ratings change. It is a disastrous course.”

Of course, Democrats’ doomsday predictions play in their favor in debt-limit negotiations. Historically, every time the two parties have debated a remedy right up to the deadline, they struck a last-minute bipartisan deal to head off economic havoc as Wall Street investors grew increasingly skittish.

“A responsible president would stand up and say, under no circumstances whatsoever will the United States default on its debt. Biden doesn’t want to say that because he wants to scare the markets by threatening a default,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Over the last decade, Cruz has stayed an outsider as his GOP colleagues repeatedly helped Democrats raise the debt limit at the last minute, alienating the most fiscally conservative lawmakers in both chambers who weren’t ready to cut deals until their demands were met.

In 2013, when he was a first-term senator, the Texan insisted Obamacare be defunded as a condition of raising the nation’s borrowing limit. That demand led to a 16-day government shutdown and took the country within one day of defaulting.

Now, Cruz argues that House Republicans’ bill to limit the effects of default would ensure Democrats can’t use the fear of economic calamity to avoid negotiating fiscal changes.

“To date, Democrats have opposed that because they would rather scaremonger than actually reach a reasonable compromise on spending and debt,” Cruz said.

Republicans’ gambit feels all too familiar for the lawmakers who were around 12 years ago when the debt-limit standoff spurred a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating for the first time in American history. Republicans were also advocating debt prioritization bills back then.

“What we’re seeing is a rewind of 2011 on steroids,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who was a House member then. “They really need to pull back from the brink, because they’re gonna crush the American economy if they stay on this path.”

The U.S. could fully exhaust its borrowing authority in less than three months, as early as June if revenue comes in lower than usual this tax season. At best, the Treasury Department will be able to scrap along through summer and possibly into the fall using the cash-conservation tactics the government calls “extraordinary measures.”

“Nobody knows exactly how long the extraordinary measures last. Well, what if it doesn’t last as long?” said one Republican lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid being associated with concerns about defaulting.

“I don’t think we should be dinking around with it.”

Olivia Beavers and Caitlin Emma contributed to this report.

Four more members of the Oath Keepers were convicted Monday of conspiracy to obstruct Congress’ Jan. 6 proceedings, bringing the number of members of the group found guilty by juries of felonies related to the Capitol attack to more than a dozen.

Jurors found Sandra Parker, Laura Steele, Connie Meggs and William Isaacs each guilty of the most significant charges they faced: conspiracy to obstruct Congress’ proceedings, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent a federal officer from discharging duties.

The four were also found guilty of several other charges they faced, including destruction of government property.

The convictions add to a growing roster of Oath Keepers who are facing lengthy prison terms for their role in the events on Jan. 6. Stewart Rhodes, the group’s national leader was convicted in November of seditious conspiracy, along with Kelly Meggs — husband of Connie Meggs. In a second trial, four other Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy: Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel, Joseph Hackett and Ed Vallejo.

Across the three multi-defendant trials, prosecutors have portrayed the group as a key driver of events on Jan. 6, conspiring to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, with some of them prepared to turn violent to achieve that end. Prosecutors noted that they had amassed a stockpile of weapons that they stashed at a hotel in Arlington, Va. that they discussed ferrying into Washington if the events had turned even more violent than they did.

Oath Keeper defendants argued that they were simply in Washington to perform security details for VIPs at Trump’s rally, which preceded the violent riot at the Capitol.

Monday’s verdict was less clear for two other defendants in the third Oath Keepers trial: Bennie Parker and Michael Greene.

Parker, who didn’t go into the Capitol, was acquitted of obstruction and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties, but the jury was deadlocked on whether he conspired with other Oath Keepers to obstruct Congress’ proceedings.

Greene was acquitted of that charge, and of conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties, but the jury was stuck on whether he participated in the actual obstruction of Congress’ Jan. 6 session. Greene was also acquitted of evidence tampering.

Both men, however, were convicted of misdemeanor counts of entering and remaining in a restricted building. The jury will continue to deliberate on the two deadlocked charges to see if it can return a unanimous verdict.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Sunday pushed back on Donald Trump’s calls for protests if he is ultimately indicted, instead calling for “calmness” and urging against any violence.

His remarks during a press conference came a day after the former president predicted he would be arrested on Tuesday amid reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was preparing for the possibility of charging the former president in connection with allegations he paid hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy told reporters during the first night of the House GOP’s three-day annual issues retreat. “We want calmness out there.”

The ex-president on Truth Social called for his followers to “Protest, take our nation back,” when attacking the investigation and its chief investigator Saturday. But the top House Republican sought to smooth over Trump’s wording, in a throwback to a frequent GOP tactic during his four years in the White House, suggesting he likely meant to “educate” people about the actions by Bragg.

“I think President Trump, if you talked to him, doesn’t believe that either. I think the thing that you may misinterpret when President Trump talks and someone says that they can protest, he’s probably referring to my tweet: educate people about what’s going on. He’s not talking in a harmful way, and nobody should.”

McCarthy, however, said in a follow-up question that he has not spoken to Trump, but he has spoken to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee and its weaponization subpanel.

But not all agreed with McCarthy.

Just feet away from the stage where McCarthy and other members of leadership argued against protests, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told reporters that people have the right to protest, though she denounced any potential political violence in reaction to a possible Trump indictment.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling for protests. Americans have the right to assemble, the right to protest. And that’s an important constitutional right. And he doesn’t have to say peaceful for it to mean peaceful. Of course, he means peaceful,” Greene told reporters. “Of course, President Trump means peaceful protests.”

Greene, an ardent Trump loyalist who supported McCarthy during his speakership race, similarly attacked the probe as “corrupt” and a “witch hunt,” while comparing it to what happens in communist countries.

And she also defended the California Republican’s response when asked directly about it, saying that while “people have the right to choose,” that she’s “said the same thing” as McCarthy. (Greene noted she won’t go to New York to protest, instead planning to go to Trump’s rally in Waco, Texas, later this month.)

Looming over Trump’s latest protest remarks are memories of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021, when he encouraged followers to turn out to protest the presidential election results.

Nevertheless, Republicans do seem in agreement that they oppose Bragg’s efforts, with McCarthy already issuing various tweets over the past two days vowing to have relevant committees probe whether federal funds “are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DAs across the country,” referencing billionaire liberal donor George Soros.

NBC News reported Friday that law enforcement and security agencies across various levels of government were preparing for the possibility of an indictment as early as this week, including taking security precautions in the event of violent outbursts.

When pressed whether such funds are really used that way, he said he doesn’t know but plans to probe the matter to find out.

“I don’t know, did you read my tweet?” McCarthy asked one reporter asking about where he believes the funds come from. “I said I need to investigate. So I don’t have I don’t have the answers.”

When asked if there is any evidence the DA could obtain that could convince him that charges were warranted, McCarthy deflected by hammering the DA as being politically motivated. And he also argued that Trump, if he is ultimately indicted, isn’t barred from running for president under the Constitution when asked if it would be appropriate for him to continue campaigning.

And there could be more action coming from the new majority in the coming days.

“I talked to Chairman Jim Jordan today. I think you’ll see action tomorrow,” said McCarthy.

House Republicans ignored the Capitol Police’s repeated requests to review and approve all Jan. 6 security footage they planned to release publicly, the force’s top lawyer asserted in a sworn affidavit filed Friday.

Only one of the more than 40 riot clips that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson aired earlier this month using access granted by the House GOP got previewed and approved beforehand, according to Capitol Police general counsel Thomas DiBiase. The rest, DiBiase said, “were never shown to me nor anyone else from the Capitol Police.”

In a six-page declaration filed as part of a Jan. 6 criminal case, DiBiase described the timeline by which Republicans obtained access to the 41,000 hours of footage captured by Capitol security cameras on Jan. 6. The filing itself is an uncomfortable moment for the Capitol Police — which, as a result of the case, has been forced to describe private interactions with members and staffers in open court.

The department is typically loath to appear at odds with House leaders in particular, since it relies on the majority party for its budget and are charged with protecting its members.

Last month Republicans started requesting the same footage that the Jan. 6 select committee had access to. Those requests came first from Tim Monahan — who doubles as a top aide to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and as a staff director for the House Administration Committee — and then from Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), the chair of that panel, which has jurisdiction over Capitol security.

Within days, DiBiase indicated, the Capitol Police installed three terminals in a House office building to grant access to the footage. And DiBiase said he also provided four hard drives he had received from the Democratic-led Jan. 6 panel after it completed its work.

“At no time was I nor anyone else from the Capitol Police informed that anyone other than personnel from [the House Administration Committee] would be reviewing the camera footage,” DiBiase indicated.

Later last month, media reports indicated that McCarthy had granted access to the footage to Carlson’s producers. DiBiase said he later learned that “personnel from the Tucker Carlson Show were allowed to view whatever footage they wanted while supervised by staff from [the House Administration Committee] but that no footage had been physically turned over to the show.”

A week later, Monahan requested a list of Capitol Police cameras that were deemed “sensitive” because they include details about evacuation routes or locations such as intelligence committee facilities.

“We worked with the Capitol Police ahead of time to identify any security-sensitive footage and made sure it wasn’t released,” said Mark Bednar, a spokesperson for McCarthy. “In subsequent conversations, the USCP General Counsel confirmed that the department concluded there are no security concerns with what was released.”

A GOP committee aide, asked about the statements in the affidavit, noted that the Republicans asked the Capitol Police for a list of security sensitive cameras “to ensure anything on the list requested by Tucker was approved by USCP, which we did.”

The aide added that Capitol Police “told us they had no concern with what was released,” but didn’t immediately respond to follow up questions about if that comment came before or after the footage aired on Fox, and if it applied to both the clip Capitol Police was able to review and those that they say they weren’t.

DiBiase emphasized that in “numerous conversations” over “several weeks,” he informed Monahan that the Capitol Police wanted “to review every footage clip, whether it was on the Sensitive List or not, if it was going to be made public.” The Jan. 6 select committee had gone through that process with the department “in all cases,” DiBiase said, as had federal prosecutors pursuing cases against hundreds of Capitol riot defendants.

“Of the numerous clips shown during the Tucker Carlson show on March 6 and 7, 2023, I was shown only one clip before it aired, and that clip was from the Sensitive List,” he continued. “Since that clip was substantially similar to a clip used in the Impeachment Trial and was publicly available, I approved the use of the clip. The other approximately 40 clips, which were not from the Sensitive List, were never shown to me nor anyone else from the Capitol Police.”

DiBiase left some key details about his interactions with the House Administration Committee unanswered. For example, he didn’t indicate whether anyone on the panel had agreed to his requests for a preview of the footage.

Notably, DiBiase indicated that the House managers of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 attack, who used about 15 Capitol security camera clips, did not preview them with the department before using them in the February 2021 proceedings. Those clips included “some from the Sensitive List.” The footnote caught the attention of Republicans who pointed to it on Friday, as an example of when Democrats had provided “zero consultation.”

Bednar pointed to DiBiase’s reference to the impeachment trial footage and said House Republicans had taken more steps to protect security sensitive material than the impeachment managers did.

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a statement earlier this month that he has little control over the footage once it’s provided to lawmakers.

Manger himself fiercely criticized Carlson and Fox News’ handling of the footage, saying it minimized the violence and chaos of Jan. 6 and portrayed Capitol Police officers’ actions in a “misleading” and “offensive” light.

DiBiase’s statement came in the case of William Pope, a Jan. 6 defendant who is representing himself and has moved to publicly release a trove of Jan. 6 security footage. Several other Jan. 6 defendants have cited Carlson’s access to the trove of footage in their own pending matters and said they intend to seek access. But, DiBiase noted in the affidavit, while Administration staff had said last week that no footage had been shown to any defendant or defense counsel, the Capitol Police had received additional requests to review the footage.

McCarthy’s decision to release the footage sparked weeks of questions for House Republicans. It’s also just the beginning of GOP lawmakers’ work to relitigate the attack, with the Administration Committee currently reviewing the previous Jan. 6 select committee’s work and promising to investigate Capitol security decisions leading up to the day. Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are planning a trip to visit the individuals jailed in connection with Jan. 6.

McCarthy has defended his decision to give access to the footage to Carlson, who has falsely portrayed the attack as nonviolent. The speaker and House Administration Committee members have pledged to release the footage more widely.

“I think putting it out all to the American public, you can see the truth, see exactly what transpired that day and everybody can have the exact same” access, McCarthy recently told reporters. “My intention is to release it to everyone.”

House Republicans’ ambitious promises to overhaul border security fizzled as soon as they assumed the majority. They’re preparing for a second attempt anyway.

GOP lawmakers have reinitiated their hunt for border and immigration policy changes, hoping to bridge the divide between the conference’s gung-ho conservatives and more cautious centrists. Those competing sides already forced party leaders to torpedo plans for quick passage of legislation in the first weeks of the new Congress, turning a potential political advantage against Democrats into an early lesson about the pitfalls of their own slim majority.

They’ve kept the latest efforts out of the spotlight. Even so, senior members — including Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairs of the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, respectively — are quietly working on a slate of border-related bills, according to four GOP lawmakers and aides, that could be ready to begin moving as soon as the end of the month.

Republicans have pitched ideas like reviving the border wall and cracking down on asylum seekers, policies that stand no chance in the Senate but would let them claim a messaging victory — if they can manage to push them through the House.

Underscoring how quickly one of Republicans’ biggest election talking points turned into a sore spot for old tensions, even those at the center of the intra-party debate aren’t willing to publicly bet against another derailment … at least, not yet.

“I can’t read minds. I can’t tell fortunes,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who chairs Judiciary’s immigration subpanel, said in a brief interview about the chances House Republicans pass a bill if they can get it out of committee and to the floor.

The GOP’s struggle to unite on border and immigration bills isn’t new — it’s approaching a congressional cliché at this point, as both parties continuously struggle to come to any sort of agreement on comprehensive changes. But the lack of agreement sparked a bitter feud between two Texas members particularly and prompted questions from reporters over Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership.

And it could easily cut against a perennial GOP talking point that Democrats are weak on border security, which the party is sure to reuse in 2024.

Publicly, Republicans have tried to put that message at the heart of their still-nascent majority. They’ve taken a series of trips to the U.S.-Mexico border to highlight its manifold security challenges, lambasting the Biden administration as their Democratic colleagues boycott some of their field hearings.

The strategy has scored some wins. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz generated headlines Wednesday when asked by Green if DHS had operational control over the entire southern border, he responded: “No.”

Green followed up with a brief clip of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas telling House lawmakers that DHS did have operational control. Ortiz declined to say if he believed the secretary was lying — a charge conservatives have made as they’ve called for Mayorkas’ impeachment.

A DHS official, after Wednesday’s hearing, pointed to Mayorkas’ comments during a separate Senate hearing last year. He said then that based on the statutory definition of “operational control,” which Green showed during his hearing, “this country has never had operational control.” (Democrats, and even some Republicans, have defended Mayorkas arguing that the impeachment calls chalk up to policy disagreements.)

But as Republicans publicly keep their rhetorical fire aimed at the Biden administration, they still want to pursue legislative overhauls. A leadership aide, granted anonymity to describe the private discussions, told POLITICO that there are “ongoing talks with members … and leadership about what a border package would look like.”

And they appear to have learned a lesson from their first misstep when their attempts to quickly vote on a border bill in the first weeks of the term imploded. Instead of trying to go straight to the floor, Republicans are expected to first take their next slate of border-related bills through two committees — the Homeland Security and Judiciary panels.

Neither committee has formally scheduled votes as the negotiations continue behind the scenes. But Green is expected to roll out a border bill within weeks, aiming to hold a panel vote in April. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said that his goal is to start moving legislation through Judiciary by the end of March — though some aides are privately betting that it will slip into April given Congress’ typical pace.

“We’ve got a number of bills we’re gonna look at,” Jordan said in a brief interview. “We’re just trying to be ready.”

Jordan pointed to bills by GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Tom Tiffany
(Wis.) and Chip Roy (Texas) as options for a border security package that his committee is expected to soon consider. Roy’s bill, which critics even in his own party fear would bar asylum claims as currently known, fueled his party’s legislative heartburn earlier this year by sparking pushback from more centrist conference colleagues. That included Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), who is now openly feuding with Roy over border and immigration policies.

Roy rejected his critics’ asylum interpretation but signaled he’s willing to give leadership space, at least for now. He’s not currently asking them to move a border package to the floor, instead saying “the plan” was to take it through the Judiciary Committee. (The Homeland Security panel, where it was also sent, isn’t expected to vote on it.)

But even if the bill clears Jordan’s panel, it’s no guarantee it can withstand scrutiny of the wider conference. Even Republican members admit the committee is more conservatively slanted than the whole of the GOP House, and leadership can only afford to lose a few members in a floor vote if all Democrats oppose any legislation.

If committees are able to advance legislation, leadership will have to decide whether to move the bills to the floor separately or as one package. Some members have floated merging whatever comes out of the Judiciary and the Homeland Security panels into one bill, a risky move that could test Washington’s favorite deal-solving tactic of trying to give everyone buy-in by making a package too big to fail.

But the math, GOP aides privately acknowledge, could be tricky. More border security, at a 30,000-foot rhetorical level, generally unites Republicans — until you drill down into the details. Making hardline changes to asylum policies or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) could peel off votes that Republicans can’t afford to lose.

Meanwhile, Roy drew his own red line, warning he won’t support just throwing money at DHS: “We’re going to change the policies or we’re not going to move anything through here.”

Another GOP aide described the effort to unite the conference on border policy as trying to collect “frogs in a bucket.” In further evidence of the challenge, no decisions have been made about when bills would come to the floor, or if it would be one package or several separate votes, according to a leadership aide.

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus as well as the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, predicted both panels will vote on border legislation within weeks, saying that he didn’t believe there was “friction” within the conference — at least when it came to timing.

But Bishop added that he would want leadership to put a bill on the floor, even if it might fail.

“I’m indifferent as to whether it will pass or not,” Bishop said. “I think we need to put the right bills on the floor.”

error: Content is protected !!