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Conservative revolt puts US House on pause until next week

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By David Morgan and Gram Slattery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives will postpone all votes until next week, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday, as a conservative revolt paralyzed the Republican Party’s efforts to advance its agenda in Washington.

The standoff between U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a hardline faction of his own Republican majority has forced the chamber into a holding pattern that looks likely to persist until at least Monday.

“We’re going to come back on Monday, work through it and be back up for the American public,” McCarthy told reporters.

“Some of these members, they don’t know what to ask for. There’s numerous different things that they’re frustrated about, so we’ll listen to them,” he said.

The ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus sided with Democrats on Tuesday to block two bills that would prevent the federal government from putting new regulations on gas stoves.

Members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus have been upset over the bipartisan debt ceiling bill that McCarthy brokered with Democratic President Joe Biden, as well as claims that some hardliners had been threatened over their opposition to the deal.

They say McCarthy violated the terms of an agreement that allowed him to secure the speaker’s gavel in January, though it is not clear which aspects they believe were not honored.

Days of closed-door negotiations have not yielded a resolution, but McCarthy said he is confident they will sort out their differences.

McCarthy oversees a narrow House Republican majority of 222-213, meaning that he can lose only four votes from his own party on any measure that faces uniform opposition from Democrats.

Along with the gas-stove bills, the dispute also has delayed bills that would increase congressional scrutiny of regulations and expand the scope of judicial review of federal agencies.

Some Republicans are growing frustrated.

“You’ve got a small group of people who are pissed off that are keeping the House of Representatives from functioning,” said Republican Representative Steve Womack.

The hardliners were among the 71 Republicans who opposed debt ceiling legislation that passed the House last week. They say McCarthy did not cut spending deeply enough and retaliated against at least one of their members. McCarthy and other House Republican leaders dismissed the retaliation claims.

(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Andy Sullivan, Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)

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