Dem opens door to bipartisan Speaker

Greg Nash

One House Democrat indicated Monday that Republicans should consider turning to his party to find a majority coalition to elect a new Speaker.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said centrist GOP lawmakers who are frustrated with the roughly 40-member Freedom Caucus could find potential allies in Democrats.

“So if the Republican leadership can’t decide, if the Republicans can’t decide a leader who they will allow to at least talk to Democrats to get the full scope of what the American people feel, then I believe that a good number of the moderate Republicans should get together and come together with some of the Democrats and see if we can form a coalition together,” Meeks said on “MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall.”

{mosads}Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) abrupt decision to drop out of the Speaker race last week left House Republicans with no obvious successor to John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is retiring.

Many lawmakers are pushing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, to run for Speaker. But Ryan has been showing reluctance to take the job.

Meeks indicated that some Democrats may consult with lawmakers such as Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who chairs the centrist Tuesday Group, to discuss a potential coalition.

“That would be historic, and it would change the course of politics for the United States, and we would get things done. So I know we’re going to reach out to Charlie Dent and others, and I hope that that dialogue and conversation begins,” Meeks said.

Votes to elect a House Speaker have historically been highly partisan. Even lawmakers who defect from voting for their leaders will typically still nominate someone from their own party. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been urging Democrats to vote for her on the floor during the Speaker election.

Only four Democrats voted for someone else during the last Speaker election in January. Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.) named former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Rep. Gwen Graham (Fla.) voted for Cooper; Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.) voted for Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) opted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). 

Tags Boehner House Speaker John Boehner Paul Ryan

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