Top Republicans are considering a plan to force House Speaker Paul Ryan out during the summer in order to clear the way for his presumed successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to take over, The Weekly Standard reported on Monday.
Although there were always Republican representatives uneasy after Ryan announced last month he was not seeking re-election that a lame-duck speaker would have diminished powers to push through legislation and would be a liability for midterm elections, the breaking point for many appeared to come on Friday after GOP leaders did not find a compromise within their own party that resulted in the embarrassing failure of the farm bill.
These sentiments were expressed by Georgia Rep. Tom Graves, who told Politico that “We would have more success if there’s no ambiguity as to what the leadership structure might look like,” stressing that “everybody wants our ‘A team’ in place… so we have the strongest outcome going into the election cycle.”
After the farm legislation failed to pass, a senior GOP source told The Hill that “It’s difficult to close deals when you are a Speaker who’s announced you are leaving in a few months.”
Another Republican congressman added that “The shelf life of a former anything in Congress, including Speaker, is about 30 minutes. That could not be refuted with a thousand examples – it’s just the way it is.”
Those in favor of the plan say that in addition to formulating a new leadership team before the midterms, it would have the added benefit of forcing Democrats in the vote for Speaker to either cast a ballot for or against Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a favorite punching bag of GOP campaign strategists, according to The Weekly Standard.
Those votes vote could then be used as ammunition against vulnerable Democrats during the election campaign.
Republicans against the plan say it has nothing to do with Ryan holding on to power as long as possible but is what is best for the GOP so that it can focus on the campaign season rather than engaging in a bitter intra-party feud.
A source told The Weekly Standard that President Donald Trump thinks there is merit to plan to force Ryan out early but has not come to a final decision.
McCarthy said that reports of the plan are “completely untrue,” while Ryan had no comment.
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