10 Anti-Boehner Republicans Who Didn’t Vote for Ryan
Updated 2:24 p.m. | Call them the “Speaker No” crowd.
Ten Republicans who did not vote for Paul D. Ryan to be the 54th speaker of the House Thursday also didn’t vote to support John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, in January. Nine Republicans voted for Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., to be speaker. Webster, the tenth Republican who did not vote for Ryan or Boehner, said he and the Wisconsin Republican had agreed not to vote for themselves.
“And I had said I would work on our guys not to nominate me,” Webster said, but noted he did not discourage members from voting for him on the floor. “There were some that were going to do it. Basically, like I’ve said, I’m for a principle-based, not a power-driven, Congress. One of those things is members can hang onto their vote, and however they feel like they need to exercise it they can.”
Webster said Ryan told him he wants his help in uniting the conference, and he suggested he would comply, for now. The 43 Republicans who supported Webster during the secret ballot GOP conference vote on Wednesday should indicate to the new speaker that change is needed, Webster added.
“I think many of those people supported me for the message,” he said. “And that is: They want to be involved. They want to be a part of this Congress. They don’t want to have bills yanked out of midair, brought to the Rules Committee, same day authority, and voted on — and just be something like a pawn.”
Webster won the votes of Dave Brat of Virginia, Curt Clawson of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Bill Posey and Ted Yoho of Florida, and Randy Weber of Texas. Webster abstained from voting for himself after doing so in January.
Brat, Clawson, Gosar, Posey, Yoho and Weber are members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.
The 39-member group initially voted to endorse Webster before Ryan entered the race. It later took a vote to see if members could endorse Ryan, but that fell short of the 80 percent needed for an official endorsement. Since the six Freedom Caucus members who voted for Webster on the floor only comprise 15 percent of the group, that means some members who declined to endorse Ryan ultimately decided to vote for him.
The Webster supporters gave various but similar reasons for their votes against Ryan. On Twitter, Gosar said he kept his promise to vote for Webster. Clawson said in a statement that it was “not time to promote from within.” And Jones, also in a statement, said his eastern North Carolina constituents “have made it clear” they do not believe Ryan is the man for the job.
While most of the detractors seemed steadfast in their support for Webster, Brat indicated he could have been convinced to vote for Ryan.
The Virginia lawmaker said in a statement that Ryan did not get his support because he never confirmed that he would commit, on paper, to his 10 Republican consensus principles. They include policy positions such as opposing amnesty for unauthorized immigrants and process changes like broadening opportunities for members to offer legislation and amendments on the floor.
Gohmert told CQ Roll Call he voted against Ryan because of some of his past policy positions, like his support for the 2008 financial bailout. But he said Ryan’s speech Thursday, which he called “fantastic” and “splendid,” was a good first step toward him using the speakership to restore regular order in the House and ensuring all members have a voice.
“It’s the kind of message that we’ve been needing to have — that we do care about the people,” Gohmert said.
The majority of those who voted for Webster said they are prepared to give Ryan a chance to fulfill his promise to unify the conference. Some said they wanted to reward him for starting a conversation about process, regular order and collaboration on legislation across the GOP conference — something they said Ryan wouldn’t have campaigned on had he not been compelled to by Webster.
“This is a fresh start for Republicans, and I hope that Mr. Ryan will take this opportunity to forward our conservative cause, restore order in the House, and have the strength to make tough decisions that will protect and strengthen this great nation,” Weber said in a Facebook post.
But they also cautioned Ryan not to take advantage of his mandate.
“He will live up to his promises,” said Yoho, “and if not, he knows there are people willing to challenge him.”
Rep. John Fleming, R-La., a member of the Freedom Caucus who voted for Webster in conference but Ryan on the floor, said Ryan probably had the year to prove himself.
“He’ll be up for re-election so I think we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Fleming said. “Obviously we’re going to hold him to his word, and we’re going to hold him accountable, as we should. He serves at the pleasure of the House of Representatives and he understands that.”
Emma Dumain contributed to this report.
Correction 11:28 a.m. A previous version of this article misidentified Webster as a member of the Freedom Caucus.
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