Matt Fuller

How the House Freedom Caucus Got Behind Paul Ryan

When the House Freedom Caucus emerged from a closed-door meeting Wednesday night, the surprise wasn't that they hadn't formally endorsed Paul D. Ryan to be speaker. It was how close they had come.  

Roughly 70 percent of the Freedom Caucus — 27 out of 39 members — voted to support Ryan. That tally fell short of the group’s standard of a four-fifths majority, or 80 percent, to take an official position. But it was good enough for Ryan to feel as though he had the support to move forward.  

Boehner Names Planned Parenthood Committee Republicans

Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday that Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., will chair the investigative panel created following a string of hidden camera videos showing Planned Parenthood employees talking about the sale of fetal tissue.  

"Recent videos exposing the abortion-for-baby parts business have shocked the nation, and demanded action," Boehner said Friday in a statement. "At my request, three House committees have been investigating the abortion business, but we still don’t have the full truth." Boehner said Blackburn will have "the resources and the subpoena power to get to the bottom of these horrific practices, and build on our work to protect the sanctity of all human life."  

Ryan to Colleagues: I'm In

Paul D. Ryan is officially in.  

After receiving sufficient support from three major factions of the House GOP, the Wisconsin Republican announced Thursday he will run for speaker. "I never thought I’d be speaker," Ryan said in a letter to colleagues Thursday evening. "But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve — I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker."  

Paul Ryan Clears Biggest Hurdle to Speaker Bid

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Paul D. Ryan fell a few votes short of a formal endorsement from the House Freedom Caucus Wednesday evening, but decided he had earned enough support from the Republican Conference’s right flank to move forward with a bid for speaker.  

“I’m grateful for the support of a supermajority of the House Freedom Caucus,” he said in a statement following the HFC vote. “I look forward to hearing from the other two caucuses by the end of the week, but I believe this is a positive step toward a unified Republican team.” The Ways and Means chairman made an endorsement from the Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 hard-line conservatives determined to overhaul congressional procedure, as well as two other groups within the conference, a condition of running.  

Freedom Caucus Resists Ryan

Updated 7:34 p.m. | Paul D. Ryan had a choice. Now he’s given his colleagues one.  

The Wisconsin Republican put the question of his speaker candidacy to his fellow lawmakers Tuesday, asking for the endorsement of three major House GOP caucuses by Friday. Now those groups are trying to figure out what it would take to get behind him. The Republican Study Committee met with Ryan Wednesday, and while RSC Chairman Bill Flores said there was unlikely to be an announcement before Thursday, Ryan probably won’t have trouble getting the backing of the large conservative group. Nor is the Ways and Means chairman expected to have trouble winning the support of the moderate Tuesday Group, which he Ryan is set to meet with Thursday.  

Freedom Caucus Resists Ryan

Updated 7:34 p.m. | Paul D. Ryan had a choice. Now he’s given his colleagues one.

The Wisconsin Republican put the question of his speaker candidacy to his fellow lawmakers Tuesday, asking for the endorsement of three major House GOP caucuses by Friday. Now those groups are trying to figure out what it would take to get behind him.

Boehner Sets Speaker Elections

In a vote of confidence in Paul D. Ryan and a show of eagerness to resign as planned on Oct. 31, Speaker John A. Boehner has scheduled a conference meeting for next Wednesday, Oct. 28, for House Republicans to nominate his successor.  

A vote on the House floor among all members will still take place on Thursday, Oct. 29, as previously announced. Boehner made the announcement of the conference election date early Wednesday morning during the conference's weekly members' meeting, according to multiple sources in the room at the time.  

House Freedom Caucus Skeptical of Ryan's Terms

Paul D. Ryan's conditional announcement for speaker was immediately met with overwhelming support Tuesday evening, with the notable exception of one key constituency: The House Freedom Caucus.  

Among Ryan's conditions to run were two critical sticking points: that the HFC endorse him by Friday, and that the conference agrees to some changes on the motion to vacate the chair. As outlined in Jefferson's Manual, the vacate the chair procedure allows any member to offer a privileged resolution to get rid of the speaker, with only a majority vote required for the resolution to succeed. That power, the threat of which conservatives used to expedite Speaker John A. Boehner's exit, was an immediate point of contention for Freedom Caucus members.  

Paul Ryan Sets Conditions for Speaker Bid (Video)

   

Updated 10:03 p.m. | Paul D. Ryan needs convincing the GOP conference has his back — and he’s given lawmakers a Friday deadline to persuade him to take the speaker’s job.  

Ryan Spokesman: No 'Final Decision' Tonight

Updated 4:25 p.m. | With a special GOP conference meeting scheduled for Tuesday night, members may finally learn what Paul D. Ryan is thinking. Sort of.  

"I don't anticipate a final decision tonight," Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told CQ Roll Call Tuesday. On Tuesday, even before the special GOP conference meeting scheduled for later that evening, Ryan was set to meet with House Freedom Caucus leaders, at the HFC's request.  

Answers to Come in a Week of GOP Leadership Questions

House Republicans return to the Capitol Tuesday with a set of questions and challenges. The most glaring among them remains: Who will lead them?  

Speaker John A. Boehner has made it clear he will stay, if needed, beyond his scheduled resignation date at the end of the month. Whether that is necessary should become clear this week. Republicans are holding their regularly scheduled first meeting of the week at 9 a.m. Wednesday, the morning after the first votes. But House leadership announced Monday afternoon a special GOP conference meeting for Tuesday at 7 p.m., which means Paul D. Ryan's pending decision about whether to accept the numerous calls he run for speaker may need to be answered first.  

As GOP Mulls Its Future, All Eyes Fixed on Paul Ryan

Paul D. Ryan has a decision to make, and until the Wisconsin Republican makes up his mind, many of the other pressing questions that face House Republicans are on hold.  

Ryan and his House GOP colleagues return to the Capitol Tuesday. But with first votes held off until 6:30 p.m., as is customary on the fly-in day, Ryan probably has until Wednesday morning, during the weekly House Republican Conference meeting, to make an announcement on whether he's willing to run for speaker — and even then, Ryan's decision could be in flux. Sources close to Ryan suggest that while the Ways and Means chairman doesn't want the job, he may be open to the speakership  if the entire GOP conference is behind him. That seems like an unlikely scenario, a standard of unanimity that Ryan realizes is just about impossible in these days of faction. But those sources also told CQ Roll Call that, should Ryan decide to take the gavel, he'd probably understand there will be some conservatives who will oppose him.  

As GOP Mulls Its Future, All Eyes Fixed on Paul Ryan

Paul D. Ryan has a decision to make, and until the Wisconsin Republican makes up his mind, many of the other pressing questions that face House Republicans are on hold.

Ryan and his House GOP colleagues return to the Capitol Tuesday. But with first votes held off until 6:30 p.m., as is customary on the fly-in day, Ryan probably has until Wednesday morning, during the weekly House Republican Conference meeting, to make an announcement on whether he’s willing to run for speaker — and even then, Ryan’s decision could be in flux.

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS

During his weekly press conference, which lasted for just more than 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former IRS official Lois Lerner, knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs, and, most notably and vociferously, knocked the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Operation Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal....
Amid GOP Criticism, Gowdy Defends Benghazi Investigation

Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy is on the offensive after a series of inartful comments from Republicans has produced a rocky lead-up to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony before his special select committee next week.  

After adopting a "tune it out " media strategy in response to recent questions on the true intent of the Benghazi investigation, Gowdy pivoted Thursday to directly respond to offhand accusations from Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., that Republicans are out to get Clinton. “There are seven members of the Benghazi Committee who are intimately familiar with the work of the committee, the motives behind the work, and the results of that work," Gowdy said. "Congressman Hanna is not one of them."  

Ryan's Choice and the House Freedom Caucus Fallout

Paul D. Ryan has a choice.  

If he wants the speakership, Ryan has a better shot than anyone else. But if past is truly prologue and the Wisconsin Republican really doesn't want the gavel, Ryan has a chance to pass on the position and still accomplish something: Weaken the rabble-rousing House Freedom Caucus. Sources close to the Ways and Means chairman tell CQ Roll Call Ryan is considering his options. But if he comes back to Washington next week and tells colleagues he'll take the job only if the entire Republican Conference supports him, Ryan will put conservatives in a tough spot.  

Speaker Election Delay Stirs Conservative Anger

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's decision to drop out of the speaker race Thursday gave Republicans a lot to think about. But some Republicans say their leaders imposed a top-down decision on the process that fundamentally altered the outcome.  

Two Republicans, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Tom Rice of South Carolina, spoke out during a special GOP conference meeting Friday to express concern that the rules of the House were not followed when Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, postponed the speaker election. "We had two candidates yesterday and they called off the election because they didn't like the result," said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. "What's this tell the American people? It looks like a banana republic here."  

Speaker Election Delay Stirs Conservative Anger

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision to drop out of the speaker race Thursday gave Republicans a lot to think about. But some Republicans say their leaders imposed a top-down decision on the process that fundamentally altered the outcome.

Two Republicans, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Tom Rice of South Carolina, spoke out during a special GOP conference meeting Friday to express concern that the rules of the House were not followed when Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, postponed the speaker election.

Does 'No' Still Mean 'No' for Paul Ryan?

After Kevin McCarthy's Thursday announcement he won't seek the speakership, Republicans are asking themselves who will . And the name everyone keeps coming back to is the one person who issued the first statement saying he wouldn't go for the job: Paul D. Ryan.  

Ryan has mastered the art of turning down the speaker's gavel, so much so that the former vice presidential nominee and current Ways and Means chairman had a statement out within 20 minutes of the majority leader's unexpected announcement . "While I am grateful for the encouragement I've received, I will not be a candidate," the Wisconsin Republican said.  

Why Did Kevin McCarthy Step Aside?

When Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy entered the Ways and Means Committee room Thursday, almost everyone expected him to exit as the Republican nominee to be speaker. Instead, McCarthy shocked the conference and dropped out of a race he almost certainly would have won, prompting one obvious question: Why?  

In a roughly five minute speech to his colleagues, McCarthy told members he did not want to be someone who divided the country. He said Republicans need someone who could unite them — and he simply wasn't that person. McCarthy had been under pressure since his now-infamous comments on the Benghazi Committee, but the astonishing announcement still baffled members. They were assembled in the Ways and Means Committee room to select the California Republican as their speaker-elect, after all, and now they were watching one of the most puzzling moves in the history of congressional politics.