The internal party vote to choose a successor for outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) took place behind closed doors in an afternoon meeting. According to a tally announced inside the room, Ryan won support from 200 of the 247-member GOP conference. A House floor vote to select the new speaker is set for Thursday morning, bringing an end to a five-week scramble to find Boehner’s replacement.
Thanking his fellow GOP members, Ryan called his nomination a “great honor” and said “this begins a new day in the House of Representatives.”
“Tomorrow, we are turning the page. We are not going to have a House that looks like it’s looked the last few years. We are going to move forward, we are going to unify. Our party lost its vision, and we are going to replace it with a vision,” Ryan said. “We think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and we have an obligation here in the people’s house to do the people’s business to heal this country.”
Ryan also singled out the outgoing speaker, saying, “John Boehner served with humility and distinction, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Of Ryan’s nomination, Tom Cole of Oklahoma said, “I expected he would do very well, and he did.”
Bill Flores of Texas, Republican Study Committee chair, said he expected Ryan to lose no more than 20 votes on the floor Thursday. “That would show a united front,” he said.
“The only drama is going to be whether he loses 11 votes or 12,” said Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) of Thursday’s floor vote.
Wednesday’s nomination vote comes hours before the House is set to vote on a controversial fiscal deal negotiated by Boehner that would increase government spending by $80 billion through September 2017 and raise the federal debt limit.
In a potential wrinkle to his recent effort to unify a divided House GOP, Ryan on Wednesday bucked pressure to oppose the deal from conservatives who worked to force Boehner from office, saying the agreement would help “wipe the slate clean” as he ascends to the top job.
Ryan, the 45-year-old chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that the deal has “some good, some bad, and some ugly” but will ultimately “go a long way toward relieving the uncertainty hanging over us.”
“It’s time for us to turn the page on the last few years and get to work on a bold agenda that we can take to the American people,” he said.
That announcement came a day after he told reporters that the process that led to the deal “stinks” and pledged to handle these kinds of major fiscal negotiations in a different way.
Most conservatives said earlier in the week they were sharply opposed to the budget deal but also said that they did not intend to hold it against Ryan. Many, however, said they would like Ryan to oppose the deal as a sign of good faith — even though Ryan had personally negotiated a very similar budget deal back in 2013.
But there were signs that they might look past Ryan’s policy positions if he makes good on his process-oriented promises.
Ryan on Tuesday endorsed a GOP conference review of existing rules and said he was committed to implementing changes by January: “It’s clear that members of the House and the American people have lost faith in how this place works. And naming a new speaker alone isn’t enough to fix it. We need a robust dialogue about improving the process so that each member has a greater voice, and we need a firm deadline to implement changes.”
Ryan has also made attempts to quell doubts about some of his policy positions that have left conservatives wary — mainly his past support for immigration reform legislation. In a Wednesday morning conference meeting, Ryan rose and pledged not to pursue any immigration bill unless it had the support of a majority of House Republicans.
White House officials — who have privately welcomed the prospect of Ryan’s elevation to speaker but have been cautious about embracing him publicly — said Wednesday they hope he pursues a different course after claiming the gavel.
“The president has worked with Chairman Ryan on some key issues, like trade and on immigration, but there are a number of issues where we have vastly different approaches, vastly different policy positions,” White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force Once. “Our concern all along in this process is that Republicans spend a lot of time and energy consolidating their fractious caucus, instead of working to figure out how Congress can run in a more bipartisan way.”
“We hope that that processes of identifying and selecting a new speaker isn’t a precursor to a partisan way of governing, but rather that the next speaker . . . is positioned to work with Democrats,” Schultz added.
Ryan faced one opponent, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who has gained a small but loyal following among hard-right lawmakers and fellow Floridians who have been drawn to his promises for reforming House rules and procedures.
But many of those who supported Webster when he was pitted against the previous presumptive nominee, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), now say they are prepared to back Ryan after he reassured them over the past 10 days that he intends to move forward with many of the same reforms.
On Wednesday, Webster received 43 votes. Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, a Freedom Caucus member, said he was not surprised by Webster’s relatively strong showing but conceded that Ryan had enough votes to win the speakership Thursday.
He said the Freedom Caucus could take credit for forcing Ryan to abandon some of his demands for agreeing to serve as a speaker, including reforms to the rule allowing a majority of House members to vote out a sitting speaker.
Huelskamp declined to say how he intended to vote personally: “I think you’ll find out.”
Another Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), who backs Ryan, said most of the 43 Webster backers had committed earlier to backing the Floridian and would be likely to back Ryan now that he has secured the nomination.
Ryan’s support for the budget deal, he added, may also have contributed to a protest vote: ‘I don’t think that helped him any.”
“If he gets 219 or 220, we have a brand new speaker,” Duncan said. “Regardless of what the vote is, he’s a guy who can unify the conference.
Wednesday’s meeting is the second time Republicans have gathered to choose Boehner’s replacement. An Oct. 8 meeting was abruptly cut short when McCarthy told colleagues he would not in fact seek the speaker’s chair in the face of determined opposition from hard-line conservatives.
Rising to formally nominate Ryan on Wednesday was Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who enjoys a near-impeccable reputation among House conservatives that has been burnished in recent months by his leadership of a special committee investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. officials in Benghazi, Libya.
Gowdy’s nomination speech, and Wednesday’s vote, took place in the same House hearing room where, a week ago, Gowdy and the Benghazi panel questioned former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton for 11 hours.
Rep. Kristi L. Noem (R-S.D.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee, also spoke on Ryan’s behalf, a spokesman said.
Juliet Eilperin and Karoun Demirjian contributed to this article.
You’ve probably seen the back-and-forth in the press about a possible government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. I deeply value your support, so I wanted to reach out directly with where I stand.
I am sickened by the recent videos that show Planned Parenthood callously discussing the harvesting of organs from unborn babies.
We need to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their appalling disregard for the dignity of human life.
I fully support the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions. I also recently voted to take federal money away from Planned Parenthood and transfer that money instead to community health centers that provide women with health care.
Sadly, that vote failed. And now we face a choice about how we move forward.
Some of my colleagues proposed that we move toward a government shutdown that would cost taxpayer money and cause uncertainty but would not actually stop federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood.
I share Right to Life’s concern that the fall-out from a damaging shutdown could end up letting Planned Parenthood off the hook for their despicable actions by distracting from the important issue of protecting life and instead focusing public attention on the impact of a shutdown. That’s why President Obama is spoiling for a shutdown—he knows the story will be all about the shutdown and not these videos that tell people the truth about Planned Parenthood’s sickening practices and that have shifted public support toward the pro-life cause.
We can’t let President Obama do this to the pro-life cause – it’s too important.
Rather than resting all our hopes on a strategy that will achieve no result and will be manipulated by Democrats and the media, I believe we should fund the government, fully investigate Planned Parenthood, and focus our efforts on electing pro-life leaders.
Again, I am fully behind the ongoing legal investigation and will continue to back legislation that protects life.
Thank you for your support,
Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.
Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.
“I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”
He has already confounded the new Republican majority this year by holding Democrats united against a proposal to gut the Obama administration’s immigration policies as well as a human-trafficking measure Democrats objected to over an anti-abortion provision.
Ted Cruz is the first candidate officially running for president in 2016.
“I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support!” Cruz announced on Twitter early Monday, a teaser to his official announcement planned at Liberty University in Virginia Monday.
“I believe in America and her people, and I believe we can stand up and restore our promise,” the Texas Republican said in video released with his tweet. “It’s going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again, and I’m ready to stand with you to lead the fight.”
Cruz is the first White House hopeful to announce his run, bypassing launching an exploratory committee and jumping right into the race.
Mandatory voting might be a big boon for the Democratic Party, but the idea President Obama floated this week of forcing Americans to show up at the polls and cast ballots is never going to happen, legal experts told FoxNews.com.
Obama made the comment while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday, noting that some countries require citizens to cast ballots in key elections.
“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it “potentially transformative.” Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”
But the Constitution guarantees the right not to vote, according to Rutgers School of Law Professor Frank Askin, an expert on election law. He said the right to free speech enjoyed by all Americans extends to making a constitutionally protected statement by not taking part in the election process. Source: FOXNews.com
The House approved a nine-month funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday, breaking a lengthy stalemate over President Barack Obama’s immigration policies that exacerbated the rift between Speaker John Boehner and the conservative wing of his conference.
The measure passed 257-167, with 182 Democrats and 75 Republicans voting to beat a Friday midnight deadline for DHS funding to expire. Voting against the measure were 167 Republicans, many in protest to the lack of language to block Obama’s immigration policies.
The vote ends a three-month battle over Obama’s decision to use executive powers to shield nearly 5 million immigrants from deportation, a move that enraged congressional Republicans. Boehner was only able to avoid a government shutdown last Friday after backroom negotiations with House Democrats led to a vote on a “clean” funding bill this week.
“After bringing our Homeland Security to the brink of a shutdown, I’m glad Republicans have finally realized the futility in refusing to protect the American people,” Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the vice chairman of the Democratic caucus. “Picking a fight with President Obama and jeopardizing the safety of American families was not only absurd, but it was downright dangerous.”
The Senate has already approved a bill to extend DHS funding through September, so the legislation now heads to Obama’s desk to be signed.
Boehner (R-Ohio) was forced to use an obscure procedural rule to reverse an earlier vote against a clean bill, after the House and Senate were unable to forge an agreement to enter conference negotiations before DHS funding expires. The vote allows the House to reverses its position of disagreeing with the Senate’s legislation.
When announcing his plan to Republicans Tuesday morning, Boehner told GOP House members his decision to allow a clean funding bill to come to the House floor was “the right one for this team, and the right one for this country.”
“I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president,” Boehner said.
Boehner received a standing ovation, according to a source in the room.
The speaker’s decision to allow a vote showed he is refusing to continue to be hamstrung on the DHS issue by a pocket of conservatives. Indeed, he invited their wrath by working with Democrats to fund the anti-terrorism agency through the remainder of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.
The stalemate emerged out of Obama’s November unilateral action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The House tried to gut those provisions, but the Senate was not able to get a matching bill through the chamber. Congress last week passed legislation to fund DHS through Friday.
Boehner told the gathering of Republicans that another short-term bill would not pass the House and said that Senate Republicans “never found a way to win this fight.”
“The three-week CR we offered would have kept this fight going and allowed us to continue to put pressure on Senate Democrats to do the right thing,” Boehner said in the meeting. “Unfortunately, that plan was rejected.”
A DHS shutdown, Boehner said, would be dangerous to national security.
“With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don’t believe that’s an option,” he said. “Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States.”
The Senate Monday rejected the House’s offer to enter formal conference negotiations between its clean bill and the House’s legislation, which attempted to stop President Barack Obama’s changes to the enforcement of immigration laws.
House Republicans are now turning their attention to the courts to oppose Obama’s executive actions. A federal judge ruled last month that Obama did not have the authority to halt the deportations. The administration quickly appealed, but several conservatives said Tuesday they now see the courts as the most effective way to halt the immigration policies.
Erin Kelly USA Today
WASHINGTON — The Senate appears poised to pass a homeland security spending bill before funding for the agency expires at midnight Friday.
A handful of conservative senators who object to the measure said Thursday they do not intend to use procedural moves to delay the Senate vote past the funding deadline.
The Senate is scheduled to vote Friday morning on its version of the bill.
Meanwhile, House Republicans may consider a three-week stopgap funding bill to keep the Department of Homeland Security from a partial shutdown, said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., following a meeting with the House GOP Conference at the Capitol late Thursday afternoon. A vote on that measure could come Friday, according to Issa.
The stopgap measure would buy more time for House Republicans to decide how to respond to the Senate’s bill. The bill angers some House conservatives because it deletes House-passed provisions to derail President Obama’s immigration programs.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, would not say earlier Thursday whether he will ultimately try to pass the Senate bill through the House or reattach the immigration amendments. Those amendments sparked a filibuster by Senate Democrats and have drawn a veto threat from Obama.
“We’re waiting to see what the Senate can or can’t do,” the Ohio Republican said at a news conference Thursday. “Then we’ll make decisions about how we’re going to proceed.”
The Senate this week reached a bipartisan compromise on DHS funding, but Boehner and other House leaders have not endorsed that plan so far.
Senators voted 98-2 on Wednesday to move forward on a “clean” DHS spending bill that is free of the immigration riders the House attached when it passed its funding bill for the agency last month.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered the compromise after Senate Democrats blocked passage of the House bill four times because they oppose the immigration riders. Those riders would cut off funding to carry out Obama’s executive orders to protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work legally in the USA.
A vote on a separate bill to defund Obama’s immigration actions will come after the DHS funding bill is passed, McConnell said.
A handful of conservatives who oppose separating the DHS funding bill from the immigration bill could have used procedural moves to delay a final Senate vote until Sunday — two days after the agency’s funding expires.
But Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said Thursday that they do not intend to delay the vote. They were the only two senators who voted against advancing the bill Wednesday.
“I don’t look to have any unnecessary delays in this process,” Sessions told reporters after a Republican lunch meeting.
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said it is time for his GOP counterparts in the House to get the message and pass the DHS bill free of immigration provisions.
“We’ve got to fund DHS and say to the House: ‘Here’s a straw so you can suck it up,’ ” Kirk said Thursday.
If the House sends the bill back to the Senate with the immigration riders reattached, Democrats will object to creating a panel of negotiators to work out differences between the House and Senate bills, Reid said.
“We will not allow a conference to take place,” Reid told reporters Thursday. “It will not happen.”
Boehner dismissed any suggestion that he is in danger of losing his job as House speaker if he angers immigration hardliners in the House GOP caucus over the thorny immigration issue.
“No, heaven’s sake, no,” Boehner told reporters.
Some House conservatives see McConnell’s compromise as surrendering to the White House because it allows DHS to be funded without blocking Obama’s immigration actions.
But Boehner rejected Democrats’ contention that Republicans are at war with themselves over the issue.
“It is not a fight amongst Republicans,” Boehner said. “All Republicans agree that we want to fund the Department of Homeland Security, and we want to stop the president’s executive actions with regard to immigration.”
Boehner said he and McConnell get along well despite the difference in the way they are handling the DHS funding fight.
“We have two different institutions that don’t have the same body temperature every day and so we tend to try and work to narrow the differences,” Boehner said. “But sometimes there are differences. The House by nature and by design is a hell of a lot more rambunctious place than the Senate. Much more.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the “gamesmanship must end” before it is too late to keep DHS funding from expiring.
“It’s about time for them to grow up and pass a bill,” Pelosi said, referring to House Republicans.
Contributing: Susan Davis
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 09:30 PM
WASHINGTON — Days away from a Homeland Security Department shutdown, Senate Republicans sought a way out Monday by breaking contested immigration measures off the agency’s funding bill and offering them for a stand-alone vote.
It was not clear whether the gambit by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would succeed ahead of Friday’s midnight deadline to fund the department or see it shut down. It was far from certain whether it would win any Democratic support, and House conservatives remain firmly opposed to any funding bill for the Homeland Security Department that does not also overturn President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
But with Senate Democrats united against a House-passed bill that funds the agency while blocking Obama on immigration, McConnell said it was time for another approach.
“The new bill I described offers another option we can turn to. It’s another way to get the Senate unstuck from a Democrat filibuster and move the debate forward,” McConnell said on the Senate floor after a vote to advance the House-passed bill failed 47-46, short of the 60 votes needed. Three previous attempts earlier in the month had yielded similar results.
“This is our colleagues’ chance to do exactly what they led their constituents to believe they’d do: defend the rule of law, without more excuses,” McConnell said in a jab at the handful of Senate Democrats who’ve voiced opposition to Obama’s executive actions offering work permits and deportation deferrals for millions in the country illegally.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, immediately welcomed McConnell’s move, though without predicting its chances of success in the House.
“This vote will highlight the irresponsible hypocrisy of any Senate Democrat who claims to oppose President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration, but refuses to vote to stop it,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.