Roskam: Republicans Gather Enough Votes For Special Conference To Slow Down Speakership Election

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) speaks as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) looks on during a press conference after a closed meeting with fellow Republicans, on Capitol Hill, July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. The House plans to move on Wednesday to extend highway and transit …
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Republicans in the House of Representatives have banded together to ensure a cooperative debate on strategy and party disagreements before House GOP conference chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) can try to help House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) take Rep. John Boehner’s ’s soon-to-be-vacated job as House Speaker, and instead force a special extended conference meeting that can now happen without McMorris Rodgers’ approval.

The debate is enabled by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), who was circulating a letter to his colleagues calling for debate on the Speakership process. At least 50 fellow GOP members have signed Roskam’s letter calling for a special conference meeting.

“In one Saturday, we’ve secured enough signers to ensure an extended special Conference devoted to discussing the Speaker’s retirement and the best strategy to heal the divisions within our Republican majority,” Roskam spokesman Michael Shapiro told Breitbart News on Saturday evening.

“This is an important chance for all members of the Conference to give candid feedback about the conflicts that have prevented us from performing at the level we are capable of,” he said. “The Rule requires such a special Conference meeting to be held as soon as practicable, which is an extremely important opportunity to reflect before we rush headlong into leadership elections.”

“It’s clear our members believe that we need a plan, not a person, to heal the fractures within our majority,” Roskam told Breitbart. “I’m glad we’ll now have a chance for an open dialogue that will help us start to unify behind the conservative solutions the American people deserve.”

Now that Boehner is on the way out, and will be gone by the end of October, the House Freedom Caucus is trying to ensure the new Speaker adopts reforms that move Congress in the right direction.

“The House Freedom Caucus has not yet decided who we will support for the office of Speaker of the House, nor for any positions that could subsequently become vacant,” the House Freedom Caucus said in a joint statement.

“We look forward to meeting with each of the candidates and our Republican Conference colleagues over the coming weeks in a careful and deliberative fashion to discuss how best to ensure that we follow regular order in the House and give a voice to the countless Americans who still feel that Washington does not represent them,” the caucus said.

The caucus’ decision to bloc-vote for a speaker candidate, rather than just allow the next person in line to get the job without reforms in the way the House does business, is extraordinarily significant. It reaffirms what Breitbart News reported on Saturday about how House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy won’t be a shoo-in as Boehner’s replacement.

McCarthy may end up getting the job in the end, but House Freedom Caucus members—and other GOP conservatives in the GOP —have enough votes to deny anyone the speakership, who is chosen during a full vote by all House Republicans and Democrats.

Because of the united conservative bloc, McCarthy will likely try to win support from conservatives, instead of splitting his party in a tough, no-holds barred fight that would damage party unity for some time.

Conservatives are asking that the House returns to following ‘regular order’ and that conservatives will included in the leadership’s inner circle.

Under regular order, the House would debate and vote on funding bills each year before sending them to the Senate. The return to standard procedure would allow conservatives to include many of their voters’ priorities in agency spending plans — and perhaps prevent GOP leaders from giving up conservatives’ demands during an end-of-year budget crash with the White House.

Once the entire GOP caucus unites behind a new Speaker, either McCarthy or another candidate, it can use its united majority in a full vote of all House Republicans and Democrats to install Boehner’s replacement.

At least one other candidate, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)—who ran nearly successfully against Boehner at the beginning of this Congress—is running against McCarthy for the Speakership. Roskam (R-IL), as Breitbart News reported, may run as well.

An exclusive interview Webster conducted with Breitbart News is forthcoming. Webster is aiming to restore Congress to regular order, and stop crisis-to-crisis governance that Boehner has used by working to include more members in the legislative process and by solving problems quickly and up front rather than waiting until deadlines to do anything.


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