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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republicans met behind closed doors to discuss next steps in their internal leadership battle on Friday morning, the day after the front-runner to lead their chamber abruptly quit the speaker’s race.

“Starting this morning, we’re looking for a consensus candidate,” Representative Darrell Issa told CNBC ahead of the meeting.

Finding a replacement for House Speaker John Boehner has consumed Republicans as Congress faces a series of pressing decisions, from raising the government borrowing authority to funding federal agencies through September.

Further complicating matters is that the House of Representatives is set to take recess next week.

Issa, a California Republican, said he was considering running for speaker of the House after Representative Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday that he would no longer seek the post. McCarthy was considered the leading candidate to replace Boehner, who is retiring.

Issa said he backed House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who has said he would not run, and has no second choice.

“I could potentially be a candidate,” Issa said in a separate interview on MSNBC. If no clear candidate emerges, he said, House Republicans should look at replacing all of their leadership positions.

The race for speaker of the Republican-dominated House was upended when McCarthy dropped out, saying he could not get the support he needed to win. Boehner had planned to leave Congress on Oct. 30 but said he would stay until a replacement is elected, and the future of the planned Oct. 29 vote for speaker in the full House remained in question.

Other candidates include Representatives Daniel Webster of Florida and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

Webster has the backing the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 members aligned with the Tea Party movement that calls for lower taxes, less federal spending and reduction of the national debt and budget deficit.

Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina, on Friday said he supported Webster for the job even as he acknowledged the long odds he faces to win.

“Obviously there’s chaos up here right now, and we’re going to have to see how it works out,” he told CNN.

The day before McCarthy withdrew, Jones sent a letter to party leaders asking that all candidates confess any personal “misdeeds” that could embarrass the party. He has refused to elaborate on any specific concerns.

Republican Representative David Schweikert of Arizona said the Freedom Caucus’ support for Webster was about allowing more members to have a voice in legislative business.

“It’s so much easier to focus on people or personality over process, but much of this is all about process,” he told National Public Radio. “Much of this is really reform versus establishment.”

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy laughs off a question as he explains his decision to pull out of a Republican caucus secret ballot vote to determine the nominee to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

  • Lynda Groom

    Todays republican party is a rudderless ship without a ‘leader.’ Watching this slow moving internecine warfare would normally be amusing and fun to watch. Unfortunately this time it is just a dangerous exercise in futility. In the last election the voters brought this upon us all. I wonder if they understand that elections due indeed have consequences, which are on clear display today? We’ve not reach bottom yet in the charade of Washington DC, so hang on its going to be a bumpy ride.

    • Independent1

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the low-information right-wing voters who voted in the 40 morons that make up the Tea Party contingent in the House, which I’ve read are now being led by Brat these days, think they’ve accomplished their objectives by disrupting the Congress.

      What many of them may not realize, is Brat has orchestrated complete chaos in the House with demands that are just unattainable. So if he manages to tie up the Congress such that we the debt ceiling isn’t raised in time for America to pay its bills, that could well cause total chaos around the world and put America and the world into another recession even worse than the Great Recession in 2007-2009. And my sense is that many of these Tea Party idiots may be on Social Security. If so, I wonder just how happy they’ll be if Brat keeps his dangerous actions going long enough such that they may miss an SS benefit payment because our government is shut down.

      • plc97477

        I’m not sure they are smart enough to figure that out. these are some of the same people waving signs saying no socialism and keep your hands off my medicare.

    • Bob Eddy

      No, the “voters” did not bring this on. The Republican party (or more accurately, big business and ALEC) brought this on. The fact is that voters supported Democrats, in spite of their victories, Republicans received fewer votes than Democrats…that was the Republican plan. They knew that if they could negate enough Democratic votes through voter suppression and gerrymandering they could attain power, and that is what they did.

      • Lynda Groom

        Indeed overall the Democrats received more votes for their House seats. Gerrymandering the districts by the republicans created safe zones for their candidates. However, having said that it took the voters to pull the handles for those candidates. Those voters had the choice of voting for the other guy/gal, but picked the obstructionist, obfuscators and knownothings. Of course all the efforts at making voting more difficult served the purpose of suppressing the votes of those they dislike.

        • Independent1

          And it wasn’t just the House; it was the Senate in 2014 also. Given that the Senate seats won by the GOP were all in Red states; they lost every senate race in a blue state; their voter suppression tactics in the districts that would vote Democrat in Red States, gave them the wins – albeit many of them were so close that they couldn’t be called until the next day or later – and they won those senate seats, despite the fact that Democrats received 20 million more votes for the Senate seats open for election in 2014 than the Republicans.

  • Bob Eddy

    When the Republican party looks like it is completely hopeless mess unable to agree on anything they finally agree on something… This latest crisis isn’t going to interupt their vacation plans! After a month of gruelling ten hor work weeks its time for some R & R! The real problem however, is that the Republican party no longer exists. It is now comprised of warring factions that share nothing in common except that they aren’t Democrats. I think it is time for any remaining “traditional” Republicans to throw in the towel, cede this smoldering pile of rat shyt to the tea baggers and unite the masses that have abandoned the party and declared “independent” with the “blue dog” Democrats and form a new party. With courts starting to strike down their gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts their days of minority rule could soon be history. I think it is too late to take back the party and if they could they would be left with nothing but a badly tarnished name to work with anyway.