Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner predicted on Wednesday morning that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will receive enough votes from his colleagues to take over the speakership.
Boehner said at a news conference that the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee would make a “great speaker,” adding, “I think Paul is going to get the support he’s looking for. He laid out a clear vision for how he’d run the speakership, and I think the members responded very well to it.”
He also announced that House Republicans will hold an internal vote on Oct. 28 to choose a nominee, while an official, public floor vote will take place the next day.
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The announcement comes as Ryan — after much arm twisting and high-pressure sales pitches from establishment Republicans — said he’s willing to be the next speaker, but only if his fellow lawmakers fulfill several conditions. Stipulations included that his party stop being an “opposition party,” that there are rules in place to ensure the House doesn’t have “constant leadership challenges and crises,” and that he won’t have to give up time with his family. Paul noted on Tuesday evening, “I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers.”
Paul is meeting with several caucuses on Wednesday to see if they will support him. That includes the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), a group of approximately 40 hard-lined conservatives who helped hasten Boehner’s departure from the speakership and tanked the candidacy of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
It is not clear if everyone in the HFC will support Ryan. Rep. Raul Labrador, a founding member of the caucus, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday that the group wouldn’t back away from its previous endorsement of House speaker candidate Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida.
Boehner, who as frequently butted heads with the HFC, was asked on Wednesday if he had a message for HFC members. The Ohio congressman said, “this is not about us as leaders,” and that the final decision is up to House members. “Hopefully, by the end of the week we will have a nominee,” he said.
There are also questions over whether far right conservatives would let Ryan off the hook for his more moderate stances on immigration and TARP, the Wall Street bailout program. The HFC’s support is seen as critical for any future speaker since the caucus has enough members not only to block Ryan, but also any GOP-led legislation.