As President Donald Trump goes to Capitol Hill tonight for his first address to a Joint Session of Congress, both parties fully expect him to again sound the call for action on a repeal of the Obama health law, though GOP lawmakers in Congress admit they still don’t have an internal agreement on how best to replace the Obama health law.
Back from a ten day break, the U.S. Senate on Monday evening easily approved President Donald Trump’s nominee for Commerce Secretary, but Democrats again made clear they would not allow swift action on several other Trump Cabinet nominees, as Republicans again protested the extended delays.
The accounting firm responsible for tallying Oscar votes and keeping up with envelopes containing the winners has apologized for the Best Picture gaffe at the end of Sunday’s Academy Awards, but President Donald Trump believes the mix-up was actually about him.
A day after Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he would run for Speaker if different factions of the House GOP endorsed him, more conservative lawmakers weren’t rushing to jump on his bandwagon, worried that Ryan won’t be much different than outgoing Speaker John Boehner.
“Many of us really have the sense that Paul Ryan doesn’t want the job,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), one of many House Freedom Caucus members who raised questions about Ryan.
“If the candidates for Speaker remain as they are, I will be voting for Daniel Webster,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), another more conservative GOP lawmaker who expressed misgivings about Ryan.
Tea Party lawmakers were especially worried about one of Ryan’s conditions to take the job of Speaker, which would limit parliamentary motions on the House floor by conservatives to toss out their leadership.
“I think that would be a mistake,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), as he was pursued by a pack of reporters following a closed door meeting of Republicans on Wednesday morning.
The reluctance of more conservative members to get on board with Ryan left a number of GOP lawmakers frustrated, as they argued that Ryan is a perfect choice for the party.
“I hope they understand that if we’re going to be a team, a team has to practice together,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who said he had no idea if the House Freedom Caucus members would stick with their endorsement of Webster, and not back Ryan for Speaker.
It’s very hard to predict people that are unpredictable,” Mullin told me.
But others in the GOP were optimistic.
“I think we will get Paul Ryan over the finish line,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has flirted with his own bid for Speaker.
As for the current occupant of that job, Speaker John Boehner set the internal GOP nomination vote for next Wednesday, October 28, with a vote on the floor for Thursday October 29.
“I think Paul Ryan would make a great Speaker,” Boehner told reporters at a news conference, “but this decision is up to the members.”
Asked what the backup plan would be if Ryan is rejected, Boehner gave a frank answer.
“Don’t know,” the Speaker said with a shrug.
And for now, it’s not clear whether all wings of the GOP will give Ryan their blessing.
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.
A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.