Posted: 10:43 am Tuesday, November 15th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
One week after the election win of President-Elect Donald Trump, Republicans in the U.S. House rallied around Speaker Paul Ryan, and started to hash out their next legislative moves, thrilled that their party will control both houses of Congress and the White House in 2017.
“Welcome to the dawn of a new, unified Republican government,” said a beaming Speaker Paul Ryan.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 15, 2016
“It was all about unity,” said a smiling Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), as he emerged from a morning meeting in the Capitol.
Collins was one of the earliest Republicans to support Trump, as the New York Republican said he had been tapped as the main GOP liaison between House Republicans and the Trump transition team.
Asked about the future of House Speaker Paul Ryan, Collins left no doubts that the signal from Trump Tower is that Ryan should not be booted from his leadership post.
“Paul Ryan’s future is as bright as ever,” Collins told reporters in the basement of the Capitol. “He has no opposition today; I’m seconding Paul Ryan’s nomination.”
“Paul Ryan will be Speaker of the House, unless Donald Trump objects,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who has been one that has not been pleased with Ryan’s time as Speaker.
Other Republicans argued keeping Ryan is the right choice, as that avoids any messy internal GOP fight which could get in the way of the Trump agenda.
“Look, right now is not the time,” said Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK). “We have the ball – let’s go on offense.”
“I think Paul (Ryan) is excited about the opportunity to govern with a unified party,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), who told me it was important for the GOP to follow through on their campaign pledges.
“I think we missed many opportunities the last time we controlled the House, the Senate and the White House – and we cannot afford to miss this opportunity,” Miller added.
GOP lawmakers said no decision had been made yet on how to deal with the federal budget, which runs out on December 9, as some indicated the GOP might approve a short term extension into 2017, and use that extra time to start work on some Trump proposals.
Many lawmakers emerged from the meeting clutching or wearing red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.
One Republican proudly showed it off to me, and pulled up the tag inside, so I could see it.
“Made in America,” he said with a grin.
While Republicans were all smiles, it was different down the hall, where Democrats were meeting, as they agreed to delay their leadership elections until after Thanksgiving.