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Perry weighs in on speaker tumult
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry wants the House to takes its time choosing a new speaker following a tumultuous few weeks that saw the sitting speaker abruptly resign and the man who seemed a shoe-in replacement just as abruptly drop his bid.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced Oct. 8 he was no longer vying for the position that stands second in line to succeed the president and ultimately sparked a select slew of other rumored potential candidates to surface.
McCarthy surprisingly quit the race to succeed Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — who announced his resignation in September — because he doubted his ability to get the needed votes from the GOP's 247 House members.
"Kevin McCarthy is a good man, and I continue to have the utmost respect for him," said Perry, R-York County. "Since Speaker Boehner announced his decision to resign ... I have strongly opposed the decision to rush these leadership elections."
Freedom Caucus: Both Boehner and, more recently, McCarthy, were facing strong opposition from the Freedom Caucus, with which Perry recently confirmed he was affiliated.
The caucus, formed this year, is made up of 30 to 40 conservative Republicans with an aim to give "voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them" while also "supporting open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and rule of law and policies that promote liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans," according to its mission statement.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who like Boehner and McCarthy is not a member of the caucus, is among those now rumored to be considering a bid to become the next speaker.
Perry said he had no comment regarding Ryan's interest in becoming speaker but further emphasized the importance of being patient in filling the vacancy.
"The Republican conference should conduct a thorough and transparent process wherein candidates can make their case for a positive, conservative governing vision for America, and members of Congress have time to receive feedback from their constituents and make the most informed choice possible," he said in a statement. "Our next speaker must enact reforms that are fair for all members."
Vote: The Constitution authorizes the House to choose its speaker, who is selected by roll-call vote on the first day of every new Congress or in the event of a death or resignation. Each party nominates a candidate, and roll-call votes are cast until a candidate receives a majority.
According to the House of Representatives website, the longest battle over the speakership took roughly two months and 133 ballots. It ended in early 1856.
Perry said he understands "people's frustration and anger over what's happening in Washington. I fight this battle every single day and am sick and tired of the status quo, but that means taking a stand and advocating for real change, no matter how unpopular with the powers that be. We need to honor the promises we made to the people who sent us here, and that's exactly what I intend to fight for."
— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at email@example.com.