House Republicans in disarray keep focus on Ryan

A House Republican conference in disarray renewed its pleas for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to come to the rescue and run for the Speakership on Friday as its memebrs met to decide how to move forward.

Lawmakers met behind closed doors a day after the stunning decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to drop out of the race for Speaker, a move that left unclear who will — or can — lead the rancorous House GOP conference.

Many members want Ryan to run for the post, but it’s not clear whether he’ll answer the calls to take on the difficult responsibility of the Speakership.

{mosads}The only new step announced Friday is that the GOP will set up a focus group to review House conference rules and procedures, an effort to appease rank-and-file conservatives who have felt edged out under Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) reign.

GOP leaders have not scheduled a new date for a Speaker election.

Multiple Republicans — including a current candidate for Speaker — said Friday that they have been making personal appeals to Ryan.

“If Paul Ryan got into the race, of course I’d support him. Part of the reason I got into the race was because people like Paul Ryan weren’t getting into the race,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who announced his bid for Speaker last week, told reporters.

“I’m a huge fan of Paul Ryan, I would hope he would do it. But he has consistently said that he won’t,” he said.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who said he would consider a run for Speaker if Ryan doesn’t jump in, said he is not giving up hope.

“I’m still trying to convince him to be our consensus candidate,” Issa told reporters. “If he doesn’t run I’m going to ask him to reconsider.”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), who said Thursday he is “considering a run for Speaker,” said he — along with at least 15 members — have personally spoken with Ryan to encourage him.

Westmoreland said Ryan made no remarks at the meeting, but has begun discussions with members of the conference: “He has just now really started with people, talking about it.” 

Members of the focus group will be announced in the next week for the review, which will take about a month, Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer (R-Ind.) said.

“You’ve got to focus on what you can realistically affect between now and the end of the month, that’s probably exclusively conference rules. But we also want to look at a broader conversation that could include House rules over time,” Messer said. “I think you’ll see rules changes that enhance a chairman’s ability to change debate, rules that are focused on empowering individual members,” he said.  

Tags Boehner Jason Chaffetz John Boehner Paul Ryan

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