Columns

Conservative Congressman: Republicans Lack a Leader Like Pelosi

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said it’s too early to judge Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) speakership but added that Ryan has not been any different than former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) so far.

Labrador also lamented Republicans in Washington who, unlike former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are “afraid of their own shadow” and fail to fight for conservative policies the way Pelosi fought for liberal policies as speaker.

“It’s too early to judge the speakership of Paul Ryan and I think it’s actually fundamentally unfair to try to judge the speakership of Paul Ryan over the last month or so, but I have also said the honeymoon is over,” Labrador said during a “Conservatives with Conservatives” event on Capitol Hill.

“I think he needs to start putting up real conservative reform in the House and doing the things that are necessary to show the voters that he is a different speaker than John Boehner – because, frankly, everything he has done so far is no different than what John Boehner would have done. I think that’s why you see that reflected in the poll numbers – I do think he has a year to make it up and I think we all want to give him that opportunity to make it up,” he added.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) pointed out that the deficit had declined since Republicans won control of the House in 2010 but predicted that it will rise under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Ryan’s leadership.

“So while we weren’t doing what needed to be done, we were improving the situation. However, with what has happened, particularly last month with the omnibus bill, I think a good case could be made that this Congress led by Mitch McConnell and now by Paul Ryan – and they’re going to catch the barbs because of that – this Congress will be the first since the Republicans captured the House where the deficit situation gets worse,” he said.

Brooks argued that the American people are frustrated because they understand the need to fix the debt while Washington does not.

Labrador, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said too many people in Washington are afraid to fight for conservative policies. While some Democrats blame House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her party losing control of the House and Senate, Labrador said Pelosi’s leadership led to the passage of many liberal policies that will likely be in place for a while.

“She instituted polices she wanted that are probably going to be in place for a long, long time that Democrats have been wanting to institute for at least 100 years. That’s what a leader of your party does. She knew how to do it,” he said.

“I haven’t seen a Republican leader know how to do it on our side. They know how to give conservative speeches, but can they actually move the ball in a direction that is actually going to bring the debt down?”