The House Freedom Caucus, a collection of conservative House members, has come together and agreed to endorse Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) as the next House Speaker. The move makes an already interesting race for House Speaker even more compelling. If the conservatives can stick together, they can force the GOP establishment to pick a more acceptable candidate to lead the House.
The Freedom Caucus, led by Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), holds enough votes to essentially veto a McCarthy Speakership, though it’s unclear whether all members would cast their ballots the same way.
And the endorsement of Webster signals the influential 40-plus member Freedom Caucus’s intention to draw out the process and force McCarthy’s hand.
“Under the present circumstances and without significant changes to Conference leadership and process, Rep. Daniel Webster would be best equipped to earn back the trust of the American people as Speaker of the House,” the group said in a joint statement.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a Freedom Caucus member, said the endorsement is for Thursday’s vote and not for the floor vote.
Still, he said the group has proven that “once we walk out of that room united, we stay united on the floor.”
With the math working against McCarthy, some conservative leaders are reviving the idea of brokering a deal and forging a coalition with the GOP leader: A bloc of conservatives would throw their support to McCarthy on the House floor, pushing him over 218. In return, McCarthy would back one of the conservatives, such as Jordan, to replace him as majority leader.
“Getting a majority of the conference for Speaker is not the answer. He’s got to get to 218 on the floor,” said one leader of the Freedom Caucus, which had pressured Boehner to resign. “There is speculation among many that the only way that Kevin McCarthy ever gets 218 on the floor is if there are different people in leadership.”
Mulvaney called the idea of a conservative coalition with McCarthy “something that is still on the table.”
“I can foresee a situation where that might gain some broad support from the conference,” he said.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), one of the founding members of the Freedom Caucus, gave his Facebook followers an inside look into how the decision transpired.
I’m pleased to report that the House Freedom Caucus has endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida as the next Speaker of the House. Early this year, I helped found the Freedom Caucus to win real change in Washington. Mr. Webster is a former speaker of the Florida House and has the skills to unite and lead our party. Here is this afternoon’s statement from HFC:
“Last night we had productive exchanges with all of the Speaker candidates. We appreciated the opportunity to hear our colleagues’ visions for how they would lead our Conference and the House. It is clear that our constituents will simply not accept a continuation of the status quo, and that the viability of the Republican Party depends on whether we start listening to our voters and fighting to keep our promises. We accordingly believe that, under the present circumstances and without significant changes to Conference leadership and process, Rep. Daniel Webster would be best equipped to earn back the trust of the American people as Speaker of the House. We will therefore vote for Rep. Webster in the Republican Conference election tomorrow.”
This is an exciting turn of events. It’s nice to see conservatives coming together to slow down the advance of the left in the GOP – however, announcing this decision and following through with it are two very different things. We’ll see if they have the strength of their convictions, or if some of these conservatives are just all talk.
Now that the establishment favorite for the job, Kevin McCarthy, has pulled himself out of the running, the door truly is wide open for the conservatives to heavily influence the decision making process in choosing a new House Speaker.
Now is the time for us to get the job done conservatives, we’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for years and our time has finally come. Let’s get ‘er done.