A mini-mutiny may be underway in the House of Representatives as a third conservative has come out to publicly announce he will not be supporting Rep. John Boehner in his re-election bid as Speaker.
“I Will Not Vote for John Boehner,” Rep. Jim Bridenstine titled a news release on Friday. In the brief release, the Oklahoma Republican complained that Boehner joined forces with President Obama in drafting the $1.1 trillion budget bill known as the CR/Omnibus, which he said “blocked our newest elected Republicans from advancing conservative policy and delivering on campaign promises.”
“With this vote, Republicans gave away the best tool available to rein in our liberal activist President: the power of the purse. The power of the purse is Congress’ Constitutional strength,” Bridenstine wrote.
While his statement bashes the president, not the Speaker, Bridenstine wrote that Boehner’s support for a bad bill makes him unqualified for the top House post. “The CR/Omnibus legislation sufficiently undermines the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution that it warrants my pending vote against the Speaker. Speaker Boehner went too far when he teamed with Obama to advance this legislation. He relinquished the power of the purse, and with it he lost my vote.”
Bridenstine said the results of the 2014 mid-terms, when Republicans took over the Senate and built their largest majority in the House since World War II, should have been a clear message to Boehner that liberal policies like Obamacare and amnesty for illegal aliens is contrary to where the American public stands.
“This is unconscionable after watching the campaign rhetoric that won such decisive victories for the GOP,” he said.
His defection adds to the number of lawmakers who have vowed not to support Boehner. Rep. Ted Yoho said on Saturday night that he might run for Speaker. “The American people have spoken loud and clear by their choice to elect conservative Representatives to serve them in Washington,” Yoho said. “It’s our turn now, as Members of the People’s House, to echo their demands by electing a new Speaker. The American people have allowed us to choose who is best suited to lead the House by electing a deep bench of diverse and qualified members. Our Republic is built on choice, and if needed, I would stand up to give our members that option.”
Rep. Thomas Massie also said Saturday that won’t support Boehner, citing the Speaker’s broken vow to allow lawmakers 72 hours to read enormous bills and his push for the CR/Omnibus bill. Massie said that Boehner “schedule[d] a fiscal crisis in a lame duck session on the last legislative day before Christmas to get maximum leverage over rank and file members” and then worked to “mislead members into thinking that a vote on an unpopular bill was postponed, only to then conduct a rushed voice vote on the $10 billion unfunded spending measure with fewer than a dozen members present.”
And Rep. Louie Gohmert on Sunday announced he, too, would be running for Speaker, also citing the CR/Omnibus bill. But he said he’d be happy if anyone but Boehner won.
“At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November,” Gohmert said in a statement.
Another Republican, Rep. Walter Jones (R-SC) said there are up to 18 conservatives who are looking for an alternative to Boehner. In 2013, there were nine Republicans who didn’t vote for Boehner.
Gohmer said there is “false information being floated that any Republican candidates in addition to the current Speaker will split the vote and give the Speaker’s gavel to” Rep. Nancy Pelosi. “This is nothing but a scare tactic to keep the current regime in power,” he said, noting that 59 Republicans would have to vote “present” for that to happen.