Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), the former Speaker of the Florida House who is a candidate for the House Speakership, is looking forward to running against House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Thursday.
“I am thankful for and humbled by the support of many of my colleagues,” Webster told Breitbart News in response to the 43 votes he received against Ryan’s 200 votes, during the closed-door conference vote on Wednesday. “Our vision to implement a principle-based, member-driven process that transforms the way we do business in Washington is resonating with Members of Congress.”
Ryan, who failed to reach the necessary threshold—218 votes—to win a Speakership election on the House floor assuming all members are present and voting, earned the House GOP conference’s nomination in the conference meeting.
Ryan has not received the official endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus, which could stop him—and the budget and debt deal from GOP leadership and President Obama that Ryan supports—if they wanted to.
It’s unclear at this time if the 45 GOP members who voted against Ryan in conference—43 for Webster, one for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and one for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy—will stick to their principles and vote against Ryan in the real election on the House floor.
What’s also interesting is that the Freedom Caucus did endorse Webster for Speaker—and rejected endorsing Ryan. Because Webster is running against Ryan on the House floor, if any member of the Freedom Caucus votes for Ryan they will be violating the organization’s endorsement of Webster in the election.
There’s much talk in the conservative movement of disbanding the House Freedom Caucus because it no longer is following its principles.
There caucus has at least two taxpayer-funded staffers—Steve Chartan, the executive director, and Matt Buckham, the press secretary—and there perhaps could be more. They get their taxpayer-funded salaries from a fund into which all members of the House Freedom Caucus pay using member’s dues.
Because the Freedom Caucus is no longer serving the purpose it was laid out to serve, lots of conservatives movement-wide are wondering if the members paying out of their dues into the caucus fund would better serve the nation by diverting that money right back into the U.S. treasury.
That’s becoming a prevailing mood behind closed-doors, especially because the Freedom Caucus’ faux opposition to the Ryan-backed debt-and-budget deal is going to lead to a massive debt increase, plus more spending that busts through current budget caps.
At least two Freedom Caucus members have privately told Breitbart News they are seriously considering withdrawing from the organization if it doesn’t keep its promise to Webster to back him on the House floor in the Speakership election.
If the Freedom Caucus sees a mass exodus after this, the organization could quickly become defunct–ironically, entirely because they didn’t follow their own principles while bashing the GOP establishment for not following theirs.