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Breaking Ranks: Florida GOP Member Champions Tax Relief Bill, Courts Democratic Support for House Floor Showdown

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Florida GOP Rep. Greg Steube Challenges House Leadership, Pursues Tax Relief Bill with Democratic Support

In a bold move that could mark a significant shift in House dynamics, Florida Republican Representative Greg Steube has announced his willingness to defy party leadership and advance a tax relief bill to the House floor—with the crucial backing of House Democrats—should Speaker Mike Johnson continue to stall.

The prospect of such an action underscores the current fragility of the 118th Congress, where Speaker Johnson's narrow majority has faced relentless pressure from conservative factions. Instances of bipartisan collaboration have become increasingly common, with major legislation often relying on cross-party support for passage.

Steube's initiative, aimed at providing tax relief for those impacted by federal disasters such as Hurricane Ian and the Ohio train derailment, gained momentum through a rare procedural maneuver. By filing a discharge petition, he marshaled support from 190 Democrats, surpassing the critical threshold of 218 signatures necessary to force a vote on the House floor.

Expressing gratitude for the bipartisan backing, Steube emphasized the urgency of addressing long-standing relief needs across the nation. He highlighted the significance of the petition's success, only the third in 30 years, as a testament to the widespread demand for assistance among constituents.

As the petition clears procedural hurdles and advances to the House calendar, Steube awaits the final steps in the legislative process. Following a mandatory waiting period, he anticipates the opportunity to advocate for his bill in a floor statement, while Speaker Johnson retains the option to bring it to a vote within two legislative days.

With momentum building behind Steube's bipartisan effort, the stage is set for a pivotal showdown on tax relief, showcasing a rare instance of collaboration in a deeply divided political landscape.

In the event that leadership fails to act promptly, Congressman Steube is prepared to activate his petition," a spokesperson from Steube's office confirmed. Should the bill advance through the discharge petition route, it would mark a historic occurrence, being only the third successful execution since 2000 and the twelfth since 1967.

CNN has sought comment from Speaker Johnson's office regarding the unfolding situation. House leadership faces constraints in scheduling bills for consideration, with a finite amount of floor time available amidst a plethora of legislative proposals. While members often advocate for their priorities, achieving floor consideration through a discharge petition remains highly unusual.

Anticipating broad bipartisan backing, Steube remains confident in the bill's prospects. "We were determined to secure 218 signatures, and I anticipate near-unanimous support from the entire House when the vote takes place," he affirmed.

Contributions to this report were made by CNN's Haley Talbot.

In conclusion, Congressman Steube's bold maneuver to push for his tax relief bill underscores the complexities of legislative dynamics within the House. With the potential activation of the discharge petition looming and bipartisan support solidifying, the stage is set for a historic showdown. Whether through leadership action or the unprecedented route of a discharge petition, the imminent vote holds promise for delivering much-needed relief to Americans affected by federal disasters. As the House navigates this pivotal moment, all eyes remain on the outcome, which could reverberate far beyond the confines of Capitol Hill.

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