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Freedom Caucus Balks at Paul Ryan, Refuses to Endorse Him

If House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is true to his word, he will drop out of contention for the House Speakership.

The House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday evening voted against endorsing Ryan—an endorsement Ryan considered essential to formally launching a bid for House Speaker.

“HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS DOES NOT ENDORSE PAUL RYAN. They say a SUPER MAJORITY will support Ryan for speaker, however,” Politico’s Jake Sherman tweeted.

“Supermajority of House Freedom Caucus to support but not endorse Paul Ryan but did get to 80%,” Fox News’ Chad Pergram added.

“A supermajority of the House Freedom Caucus has voted to support Paul Ryan’s bid to become the next Speaker of the House,” the House Freedom Caucus said in a statement.

Paul is a policy entrepreneur who has developed conservative reforms dealing with a wide variety of subjects, and he has promised to be an ideas-focused Speaker who will advance limited government principles and devolve power to the membership. While no consensus exists among members of the House Freedom Caucus regarding Chairman Ryan’s preconditions for serving, we believe that these issues can be resolved within our Conference in due time. We all know that Washington needs to change the way it does business, and we look forward to working with Paul and all our colleagues to enact process reforms that empower individual representatives and restore respect to our institution.

Since Ryan has failed to achieve the Freedom Caucus endorsement, the question now becomes if he will stick to his promise and drop out of contention for the Speakership.

“No,” Ryan’s spokesman Brendan Buck told Breitbart News earlier on Wednesday when asked if Ryan would follow through with a Speakership bid without an official House Freedom Caucus endorsement.

The House Freedom Caucus bylaws require for an official endorsement for the group to vote in bloc on the House floor for at least 80 percent of its members to back a measure—or in this case a Speakership candidate. So even though a majority may support Ryan—somewhat of a surprise, given how aggressively the Freedom Caucus members spoke out against Ryan all day Wednesday after his list of demands was released on Tuesday night—Ryan’s conditions for a Speakership bid have not been met.

And the numbers are still against Ryan if he does forgo his previous promise and forge ahead with a Speakership bid—one that would be launched on a broken promise—as several other members not in the House Freedom Caucus like Reps. Steve King (R-IA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Walter Jones (R-NC), among others, would likely oppose a Ryan Speakership bid on the House floor, banding together with many Freedom Caucus members to comprise a group at or near the necessary 29 members needed to derail anyone on the floor.

Buck has not immediately responded to a Breitbart News request for comment on whether Ryan will keep his word—or if his first action toward a Speakership bid would be breaking a promise he made to the American people.

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