New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) insisted today that Americans really couldn’t give a damn about Congress’ pick for next speaker of the House.
“The American people don’t care who the heck the Speaker is and I’d love to have one member of this congressional Republican leadership tell me what they’re going to do,” Christie told MSNBC. “Now I watched the Sunday shows this Sunday. This guy, Jim Jordan, who I’ve never met, like the chairman of the Freedom Caucus — who cares? I mean, seriously, who cares? He’s talking about, well, I’d like to change some of the internal rules of the House and some of the — and the American people are sitting there, if they’re watching, they’re watching it and saying…” Christie inserted a snoring sound at this point.
“What about the fact that I can’t get a job? What about the fact that my kids are loaded down with student debt? What about the fact that Putin’s in Syria? What about the fact that the North Koreans still have nukes? They don’t care about — That’s what the American people care about,” Christie added.
Ohio Republican Rep. Jordan told Fox on Sunday that the caucus, which consists of a few dozen House conservatives, is backing Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for speaker.
“But Paul Ryan is a good man. He’s a great communicator, the kind of messenger I think our party needs. And certainly, if he gets in the race, I think our group would look favorably on him,” Jordan added of the efforts of House leadership to recruit the Ways and Means chairman from Wisconsin.
“But we’re much more concerned about reforming the institution. This is not just about who the next speaker is, it’s about what’s going to change the business as usual attitude around there, changing that is foremost on our minds. And that’s what we’re focused on.”
To get support from their caucus, Jordan said, Ryan would have to agree to decentralization of power from the steering committee that picks committees chairmanships, has “all the power and also dish out the punishment.”
“On the Steering Committee, the speaker gets to vote five times,” he said. “…Now, where in the world does that kind of format work? We never see that anywhere else. So, that’s the kind of stuff that has to change.”
Jordan noted that Ryan is a friend and they meet every week.
“If he’ll come in front of our group and talk to us, I think our group would be favorable towards him. But we’re not there yet. And our position right now is we know Daniel Webster.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Fox after Jordan that “there’s a path for Ryan to unify everybody.”
“I think Paul should be very cautious. He’s the most prestigious member of the House on the Republican side. He has the best future, he’s still very young. It’s easy to get 218 on the first vote, and then you get to keeping the government open to a continuing resolution, then you get to the debt ceiling,” Gingrich said.
“And if you’re not careful, by Christmas, you resemble John Boehner, because these things are hard. And I have suggested that they actually go slower and actually have some day-long conferences and listen to each other. All 247 members won an election. All of them deserve to be heard. And your point is exactly right, when it’s done, how do you form of continuing ability to get 218 votes in the House so that you can in fact pass legislation that has to be passed.”