The GOP is a house divided when it comes to will be the next Speaker. It seems that without a viable alternative to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who seems not to want the job there is no real backup plan.
some centrist Republicans say they’d have little choice but to seek Democratic help in electing a new Speaker.
Present Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) plans to leave at the end of the month and the centrists have lost their patience with House conservatives over their demands of any new replacement. They blame the House Freedom Caucus and its antecedents for a series of government shutdown crises that have hurt the party.
Earlier today tempers flared again as centrist blame conservatives for the House GOP’s disarray. With Boehner resigning, the party has no clear successor. Even Ryan, long seen as a GOP hero, is not considered by some conservatives to be pure enough to lead the party.
Meanwhile, at least one Tea Party group has launched a “Fire Paul Ryan” campaign, and members of the House Freedom Caucus which has endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for Speaker have suggested they want one of their own in either the Speaker or majority leader seats.
“I don’t see a Plan B” if Ryan refuses the job, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told the press today.
If it becomes clear that no other Republican can assemble 218 GOP votes, King added, “In that case, we would have to consider having a coalition Speaker.”
It was Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who first floated the idea of Republicans and Democrats joining together on a Speaker candidate last week. Today he spoke to the press explaining why he felt the need to reach out to the Democrats.
“It’s a very simple question of math,”said Dent. “If there are not 218 Republican votes on the House floor, then by necessity the Democrats will have a say in who the next Speaker will be,” he said. “I still think it’s a possibility.”
“Ninety-nine percent of the time that’s something we don’t want and it’s not good,” King said of working with Democrats to elect a Speaker. “On the other hand, we can’t go on forever without a Speaker.”
Such a scenario remains unlikely, even with the House GOP in apparent disarray ever since Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) decision to abruptly drop out of the race to succeed Boehner.
There have been no formal discussions between the parties about the possibility of a coalition Speaker, and some Democrats have dismissed the notion out of hand.
“Hopefully the Republicans will come to terms as to who their recommendation will be for Speaker,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last Friday at a press conference before she left for the Columbus Day break. “But that’s really up to them.”
Providing some cushion, Boehner has vowed to remain in Washington until his replacement is secured a promise that’s lent hope to Democrats and some Republicans that he’ll wrap up much of the unfinished business facing Congress before year’s end.
He may not have a choice with key issues facing Congress such as the Treasury Department has set a Nov. 3 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. If Congress fails to act, it is possible the Treasury could stop making certain government payments. Congress also needs to pass a new bill to fund the government in December to prevent a shutdown.
So, Boehner may have to put the golf clubs away for a while as finding his replacement is more of a challenge than he may have thought.