House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Speaker Kevin McCarthy's legislative agenda strives to accommodate far-right members of the House GOP caucus. (Shutterstock)


On a vote of 213 for and 209 against, the House on June 21, 2023, adopted a Republican resolution (H Res 521) to censure Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for his pursuit of allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election outcome. As leader of the first impeachment prosecution of Trump and the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee during Trump’s presidency, Schiff repeatedly cited what he said was evidence of the campaign’s collusion with Russian operatives to sway the election. The censure resolution called these “false accusations” and said Schiff deserves censure for having “misled the American people and brought disrepute” on the House. Censure ranks behind expulsion as the most severe punishment the House can impose on a member.

A 22-month investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, resulting in a report released in March 2019, found numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians but insufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy to disrupt the election. A recently released report by another special counsel, John Durham, accused the FBI of bias against Trump in its probe of Russian connections. Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, issued a report in December 2019 that found misconduct by the FBI but no evidence of political bias in its decision to investigate contacts between the campaign and Russia.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Sponsor Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., said that as chair of the Intelligence Committee, Schiff “launched an all-out political campaign built on baseless distortions against a sitting U.S. president….With access to sensitive information unavailable to most members of Congress…[he] abused his privileges, claiming to know the truth, while leaving Americans in the dark about this web of lies….The lie that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election [was] revealed to be completely false by numerous investigations….”

Opponent Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said: “Russia repeatedly intervened in the 2016 campaign to help Donald Trump, and that is not a matter of opinion. That is a question of direct, positive fact. Special Counsel Robert Mueller…found… ‘the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.’ Here is what the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence found in 2017: `Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.’ The Mueller investigation and the Moscow Project documented more than 250 episodes of collaboration and meetings between Russia and the Trump campaign.…”

A yes vote was to censure Schiff.


Voting 221 for and 210 against, the House on June 14, 2023, passed a Republican bill (HR 277) that would prevent major rules drafted by the executive branch from taking effect unless they receive congressional approval in advance. The bill would reverse the present sequence in which Congress has authority to disapprove of new regulations only after they have been fully drafted or put into effect. The bill applies to rules having at least a $100 million impact on the economy.

Rulemaking by Cabinet departments and independent agencies is a transparent process that solicits comments from stakeholders and the public at large. In a typical year, the executive branch drafts between 3,000 and 4,500 sets of regulations, or rules, to implement the few hundred major laws passed annually by Congress, according to the Office of the Federal Register. Because Congress lacks the resources and attention span needed to give volumes of real-world detail to its broadly worded laws, it historically has turned the task of writing regulations over to civil servants in the executive branch, whose work is the target of this bill.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Thomas Massie, R-Ky., asked: “Are we a government of laws or a government of the executive branch? Are we going to allow the executive branch to write the laws? Are we going to turn our Constitution on its head? Have we gone too far already? I would argue we have, and that is why we need [this bill]….The power of Congress has atrophied. We are almost like ombudsmen to the executive branch now.”

Opponent Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., said: “The regulatory process that [Republicans] seek to frame as a battle against a vast bureaucratic conspiracy is actually an essential part of ensuring that we all have clean air and water to breathe and drink; healthy food to eat; safe planes, trains and automobiles to travel in….Regulations are extremely tangible ways [by which] the federal government protects people’s health and safety and helps create a fairer economy where everyone has a chance to succeed.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was likely to fail.


Voting 206 for and 220 against, the House on June 6, 2023, defeated a measure (H Res 463) setting terms of debate for the week’s legislative schedule. Eleven members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, in rebellion against Speaker Kevin McCarthy for having negotiated a debt-ceiling compromise with President Biden, joined a unanimous Democratic caucus in voting to kill the procedural measure known as a rule. McCarthy then shut down legislative business for the remainder of the week to deal with the revolt. His decision sidetracked bills that would ease the regulation of gas stoves and stovetops and empower Congress to veto major federal regulations before they take effect.

Republicans voting to defeat the rule were Andy Biggs of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Matt Rosendale of Montana and Chip Roy of Texas. Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., changed his vote to no in order to preserve the option to call for a new vote if the dispute within Republican ranks is resolved.

A yes vote was to adopt the rule and take up the week’s legislative agenda.


The House on May 31, 2023, passed a bill (HR 3746) negotiated by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that suspended the national debt ceiling until January 2025 and clamped down on non-defense discretionary spending, among other fiscal measures intended to avert a government shutdown. For details, see our Economy archive.


The House on May 17 voted, 221 for and 204 against, to avoid a direct vote on expelling Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., from Congress. The freshman lawmaker is under federal indictment on 13 charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public money and making false statements to Congress.

On this vote, the House adopted a Republican motion to refer a Democratic expulsion measure (H Res 114) to the Ethics Committee, which already is probing misconduct by Santos before and after his election to the House. Had the Republican motion failed, the House could have voted directly on expulsion, with a two-thirds majority required for adoption.

There was no debate on the Democratic expulsion bid or the Republican motion to send it to the Ethics Committee.

A yes vote was to sidestep a direct vote on whether to expel Santos.


Voting 219 for and 206 against, the House on March 9, 2023, passed a Republican bill (HR 140) that would impose civil penalties on any federal employee who uses their official authority to curb lawful speech on social media platforms. The bill would expand the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity during working hours.

During debate, lawmakers cited instances of the FBI and intelligence agencies warning social media about malicious foreign postings or seeking to block them or ask for disclaimers. Republicans said such interventions curb the free speech of their constituents, while Democrats said they protect America against the continued spread of anti-democracy Russian and Chinese propaganda. The bill would require security agencies to delay interventions for 72 hours after apparently dangerous information surfaces, except that postings could be immediately confronted if they contain classified material or information about child pornography and human or drug trafficking.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter James Comer, R-Ky., said “Biden administration officials have publicly called upon and privately coordinated with private-sector social media companies to ban specific accounts viewed as politically inconvenient….Whether an ordinary citizen or an established media organization, all Americans have a right to utilize these new and powerful communication technology resources to share their views and opinions without Uncle Sam putting his thumb on the scale to tilt the debate in one direction.”

Opponent Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., said the bill “welcomes the same kind of election interference that we know Russia did in 2016 and that they continue to do today. Just like Donald Trump sided with Vladimir Putin over our intelligence communities in Helsinki in 2018, this bill and the Republicans who are sponsoring this bill are siding with Russia and Vladimir Putin over our national security apparatus and our law enforcement.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was likely to fail.


Voting 218 for and 211 against, the House on Feb. 2, 2023, adopted a resolution (H Res 76) that removed Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. She joined the panel in 2019. She is the first Somali-American and naturalized citizen of African birth to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in the House, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

Citing Omar’s remarks on subjects such as Israel and the 9/11 attacks, and noting that she once equated the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban in a discussion war crimes, the resolution asserted Omar has “disqualified herself from serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a panel that is viewed by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of international importance and national security….” In response, Omar said “I didn’t come to Congress to be silent….So take your vote or not, I am here to stay, and I am here to be a voice against the harms around the world and advocate for a better world.”

Further Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Max Miller, R-Ohio, said: “Given [Omar’s] biased comments against Israel and against the Jewish people, how can she serve as an objective decisionmaker on the committee? The facts are clear: Representative Omar has espoused anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric time and time again. She cannot be an objective contributor to the work of the committee and she has brought dishonor to the House of Representatives.”

Opponent Kathleen Clark, D-Mass., asked: “How can [Republicans] talk about integrity and honor as they empower the most extreme voices in their party? As they claim due process has been added in when there is none [for Omar]? As they promote conspiracy theories, as they stack some of our most critical committees with election deniers? It is too late to inject integrity into this sham process, but we, as members, can inject our own by voting `no’ on this resolution.”

A yes vote was to remove Omar from the committee.


Voting 221 for and 211 against, the House on Jan. 10, 2023, established a special panel for probing allegations that law-enforcement and national-security agencies including the FBI and CIA have conducted investigations of in recent years on the basis of the subject’s ideological or political views.

The vote occurred on H Res 12. Under the mantel of protecting civil liberties, the panel will have a mandate “to collect information on or otherwise investigate citizens of the United States” in addition to federal officials.

The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, a unit of the Judiciary Committee, will have eight Republican and five Democratic members. It will have access to the same classified information available to the House intelligence committee and will be empowered to inject itself into past and present executive-branch criminal investigations, including ones against former President Donald Trump

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the subcommittee chairman, said: “This is about the First Amendment, something [Democrats] used to care about. I had actually hoped we could get bipartisan agreement on protecting…the five rights we enjoy as Americans under the First Amendment: Your right to practice your faith, your right to assemble, your right to petition the government, freedom of press, freedom of speech. Every single one has been attacked in the last two years.”

Opponent Jim McGovern, D-Mass., called the panel “a witch-hunt committee where Republicans plan to air their grievances and further incite crazy fringe conspiracy theories from the Internet at the taxpayers’ expense….Just like Senator [Joe] McCarthy looking for imaginary Communists, they are going to find QAnon conspiracies everywhere they look because that is what they want to find. Just like the McCarthy committee, this will become another shameful, disgraceful moment for the Congress of the United States.”

A yes vote was to establish the subcommittee.


Voting 365 for and 65 against, the House on Jan. 10, 2023, established a select committee to investigate “the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological and security progress and its competition with the United States.” Comprised of nine Republican and seven Democratic members, the panel will conduct investigations, hold public hearings and make policy recommendations but will lack legislative authority. The vote occurred on H Res 11.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., said Chinese Communist Party aggression “is not limited to Taiwan, the South China Sea, Hong Kong or even Xinjiang, where two successive administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, have determined that [it] is engaging in genocide. We see this aggression here at home where the party has stolen American intellectual property, technology and industrial capacity undermining our economy and good-paying American jobs. It is here at home where the party’s extraterritorial [reach] terrorizes Chinese students studying at our universities and targets Americans of Chinese descent. “

Opponent Judy Chu, D-Calif., said the committee “should not be used as an open invitation to traffic in blatant xenophobic, anti-China rhetoric that we know results in physical violence against Asian Americans. We certainly saw this with Trump’s labeling of COVID as the `China virus’ resulting in 11,500 hate crimes against AAPIs [Asian Americans Pacific Islanders] in this country. This committee cannot be used to promote policies that result in the racial profiling of Asian Americans but should directly focus on specific concerns related to the government of the People’s Republic of China.”

A yes vote was to establish the select committee.


Voting 220 for and 213 against, the House on Jan. 9, 2023, adopted operating rules for the two-year span of the newly convened 118th Congress. Offered by the House Republican majority, the package would be in addition to standing rules that have governed House proceedings since the 1st Congress in 1789. The new rules would, in part:

  • Allow a single lawmaker to force a vote on ousting the House speaker;
  • Weaken the ability of the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate complaints of misconduct by members;
  • Require increases in mandatory-spending programs including Social Security and Medicare to be offset by equal or greater cuts in other mandatory programs;
  • Require the content of bills to be made public at least three days before they are brought to the floor and allow more amendments to be offered;
  • Limit bills to a single topic and make it more difficult to consider amendments not germane to the pending legislation;
  • Strip about House 9,000 staff members of collective bargaining rights;
  • Remove metal-detectors from doors to the House chamber and prohibit mask-wearing requirements;
  • Require three-fifths majority votes to approve tax-rate increases;
  • Restore the so-called Holman Rule, which allows the use of spending bills to fire individual federal employees or cut their pay;
  • Promote fossil-fuel consumption by requiring Strategic Petroleum Reserve withdrawals to be offset by oil production on federal lands;
  • Repeal proxy-voting rules implemented by the Democratic majority during the pandemic to permit members to vote from remote locations;
  • And disband the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said House Republicans “ran on an agenda to change the way that Washington works, to fix this broken system, to get our country back on track, and we were awarded the majority by the people across this country. Today starts that process of fixing what is broken in Washington so that Washington can finally start working for the people of this country who are struggling.”

Opponent Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., called the rules “nothing short of a complete surrender to the demands of the most extreme Republicans on the other side of the aisle. Rather than taking this opportunity to bring us together, the adoption of this rules package sets us on a path of division and default. The extremists plan to use these rules to hold the economy hostage in order to enact more cuts to Social Security and Medicare.”

A yes vote was to adopt the GOP rules package.