House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is in the speaker’s race after receiving the backing from different constituencies of the House Republican Caucus.
Ryan received supermajority support from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has about 40 members, after a Wednesday night meeting with the skeptical group. He would have needed to clear 80 percent for an official endorsement.
Their original pick, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), says he’s still running for speaker.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) told Fox Business that the caucus’ chat with Ryan was “not an antagonistic discussion at all” as many are friends with him. “Everybody thinks that we are this monolithic conservative group. And we’re not. We get folks from all over the conference in there and there’s a wide variety of opinions about Paul and about Paul’s policy, about what a Paul Ryan speakership might look like,” Mulvaney said.
Today the 25-strong Texas House GOP delegation endorsed Ryan.
“Chairman Ryan met with the Texas Republican Delegation this morning to present his conservative vision for the House of Representatives and our nation. After hearing Chairman Ryan’s presentation, members of the delegation were given time to ask any questions. The delegation then met without Chairman Ryan and reached a consensus to endorse him. Other Texans that considered running for Speaker have withdrawn their names and will support Chairman Ryan,” delegation dean Rep. Joe Barton said in a statement.
“As Ways and Means Chairman and Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan has demonstrated an ability to lead and work with Texans on those committees and with the Texas delegation as a whole,” Barton said. “We expect Chairman Ryan will continue to act in a Texas-friendly manner as Speaker of the House.”
That doesn’t mean the delegation was unanimous. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), also a Freedom Caucus member, is still backing Webster.
The Republican Study Committee, which was the conservative caucus before the more conservative Freedom Caucus splintered off, endorsed Ryan as well.
“After hearing Paul lay out his vision for the future of the Republican conference, I am confident that he is the right person to lead the House going forward,” RSC chairman Bill Flores (R-Texas) said. “He has the policy expertise, conservative principles and strong values we need in our next Speaker.”
Ryan is a member of the RSC and worked with Flores on the House Budget Committee from 2011-2014. Flores called Ryan’s budgets “transformational.”
And Ryan also got backing from 23 female GOP House lawmakers, an endorsement effort led by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.). “The unanimous support of the women members of the Republican conference represent a broad range of views and a broad geographic range from coast to coast,” Comstock said in a statement.
The moderate Tuesday Group also endorsed Ryan.
“I never thought I’d be speaker,” Ryan said in a statement. “But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve — I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Ryan’s speaker candidacy “a good thing, to have certainty of electing a speaker so we can get down to work.”
“Not that Speaker Boehner isn’t working now, but get down to work on some of the issues that will go beyond Speaker Boehner’s tenure here,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference.
“…So we will look forward to welcoming him and see if in fact if that all works out in the next few days. It looks like it will. He knows the issues, he knows the rules, you know, he will be — it will be interesting to work with him.”