Steering Committee, Other Rules Changes to Confront GOP

McMorris Rodgers and Messer arrive Monday for a meeting with Boehner. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:18 p.m. | House Republicans could vote as early as this week on some changes to their official rules — including a plan to diversify the makeup of the powerful Steering Committee, Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers told CQ Roll Call Tuesday.  

Fast-tracking a vote to broaden member representation of the board that makes committee assignments could have an immediate effect on Republicans Kevin Brady of Texas and Pat Tiberi of Ohio, who are vying to succeed Paul D. Ryan as chairman of Ways and Means. Ryan is poised to become the next speaker Thursday.  

Ryan to Colleagues: I'm In

Ryan will run for speaker. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

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."  

Conservative Debt Limit Plan Shelved

Boehner wants to raise the debt limit before he resigns next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner said he hoped to raise the debt limit before he resigns from Congress, but he's running out of time to meet the Nov. 3 deadline in advance of his scheduled Oct. 30 departure.  

The Ohio Republican has five more legislative days to avoid a federal government default before the politically messy task falls to his successor. Earlier this week, Boehner and other GOP leaders were prepared to start the inevitable game of legislative volleyball with the Senate: They would put a bill on the floor as soon as Friday that would raise the debt ceiling through early 2017, plus make sweeping changes to the annual congressional budget process.  

GOP Factions Fall in Line for Ryan

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul D. Ryan was endorsed Thursday by the center-right Tuesday Group and conservative Republican Study Committee, paving the way for a run for speaker.  

The two groups announced their support for the Wisconsin Republican Thursday afternoon, following Wednesday's evening vote in the House Freedom Caucus, in which a "supermajority" of the caucus voted to support his nomination and on the House floor. RSC Chairman Bill Flores, R-Texas, who had said previously he would run for speaker if Ryan didn't, said in a statement that Ryan was "the right person to lead the House going forward."  

While Waiting for Ryan, Would-Be Speakers Weigh Bids

Almost everyone is awaiting Ryan's decision. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

If Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan decides against a run for speaker, the race to lead the House could turn into a free-for-all: A half-dozen Republicans are quietly testing the water for runs of their own, including a slew of Texans, a couple of the wealthiest men in Congress and at least one woman.  

Two Texas Republicans have confirmed they're getting into the game: Reps. Bill Flores and Michael McCaul, who is No. 2 on Roll Call's 2014 list of the wealthiest members of Congress . Flores, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, sent a letter to colleagues this weekend announcing his intention to seek the speakership, while McCaul, the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, is "very strongly considering running," according to a source familiar with his plans.  

What Happened to the Young Guns?

Two of the three Young Guns, McCarthy, left, and Ryan, are still around. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Kevin McCarthy and fellow Republican Reps. Paul D. Ryan and Eric Cantor ganged up in 2007 as the new generation of conservative leadership, they did a great job putting the party's goals down on paper, the man who unseated Cantor said Friday.  

"But my question to them is, do they mean it? Did they just do that as a political ploy to run or was that a real pledge to America?" challenged Virginia Rep. Dave Brat.  "Because usually when you do a pledge, you intend to keep your pledge." Counting the "Young Guns" casualties, first comes then-House Majority Leader Cantor's stunning June 2014 primary loss  to Brat.  

Members See No Problems With McCarthy Staying On (Video)

McCarthy dropped his speakership bid, but plans to stay in the No. 2 slot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What's next for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy?  

For two weeks the California Republican was the favorite to succeed John A. Boehner as speaker, but just minutes before his colleagues were set to vote on his nomination he pulled back, saying he was "not the one" to lead the deeply fractured GOP conference.  

After McCarthy's Stunner, Republicans Who Could Be Speaker (Video)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:26 p.m. Rep. Kevin McCarthy's stunning decision to withdraw his name from the race for the speaker's gavel has set off chaos in the Republican conference, with all sorts of names being floated of people who could potentially be the next speaker. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has announced his plans to stick around until his successor is elected, and that's what will happen for now: Boehner would only have to win a vote to vacate the chair if conservatives pressed one. Otherwise, he can stay for the duration.  

Here are the people who just might have the ambition for the job, although at this point, almost anybody could get a mention as chaos reigns:  

Members React to McCarthy's Decision to Drop Speaker Bid (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:02 p.m. | House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's abrupt decision to drop out of the race to replace outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, at the GOP conference's leadership election Thursday has members talking.  

Here's a catalog of reaction from the House GOP following the California Republican's move. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. , said it was "mayhem." McCarthy was "calm, cool and collected," his wife was there, members were crying. He also named two people who probably could lock up 218 votes for speaker if they threw their hat in the ring: Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. and Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. But Ryan , the Ways and Means chairman, vowed Thursday afternoon not to enter the race for speaker. "I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee," he said.  

McCarthy Gets Earful From Both Sides for Benghazi Remarks

McCarthy takes heat for Benghazi remarks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News Tuesday night the House Select Committee on Benghazi's major accomplishment so far was discrediting 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, he might have expected moans and groans from Democrats. What the California Republican and expected heir to John A. Boehner's speakership might not have anticipated was the criticism from colleagues on his side of the aisle.  

Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who is running for majority whip in the event there's a vacancy in the post-Boehner leadership scramble, said Wednesday he would have chosen his words differently.