As of early Tuesday morning, 13 House Republicans were expected to vote against John Boehner (R-Ohio) for House Speaker, and more GOP defections were possible before Tuesday afternoon’s election.
Many of the members who have come out against Boehner have said for years that Congress needs to change the way it operates, and believe that passage of the $1.1 trillion spending bill last month was just the latest example of how Congress has failed to tackle the big issues. In addition to giving members just a few days to read the giant bill, many GOP members blasted the bill for continuing to fund Obamacare, and doing nothing to stop President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Boehner’s effort to deny members a vote on these issues last month gave several members a reason to declare against Boehner’s candidacy, including two who have put forward their names as alternative candidates:
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) — Gohmert has long criticized the last-minute compromises that Boehner has struck, including those that GOP leaders have tried to move quickly for a vote. Earlier this year, Gohmert vowed to more closely watch over all activities on the House floor to ensure members know what they’re voting on.
“At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.”
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) — Yoho was the first to offer his name as an alternative to Boehner, and said Republicans need to do a better job delivering on the promises they’ve made to voters.
“Our vote for a new Speaker is not a personal vote against Representative Boehner – it is a vote against the status quo,” Yoho said. “Our vote is a signal to the American people that we too, have had enough of Washington politics, and that we will stand with the American people. This is a renewed commitment of our Oath of Office, the people we represent, and the Constitution. In 2015, we will take America back, we will restore opportunity for every American, and we will rebuild America.”
It’s going to be incredibly difficult to oust Boehner. With 246 Republicans in the House in the 114th Congress, 29 GOP members would have to vote against Boehner to deny him a majority of 218. If that happens, it would spark another round of voting.
Two years ago, 12 Republicans voted against Boehner, a number that seemed managed to ensure Boehner would still win — he won with 220 votes.
While it’s an uphill fight, 11 others have joined Gohmert and Yoho and have said publicly they would vote against the current speaker:
Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — “Republican conference rules limit chairmen to six years in their offices to promote fresh thinking and new priorities,” he said on Facebook. “We should apply those same principles to all our party’s leaders.”
Dave Brat (R-Va.) — Brat, who ousted former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) earlier this year, said Congress needs new leadership to deal with immigration, overspending and Obamacare.
“While I like Speaker Boehner personally, he will not have my support for Speaker,” he wrote in an op-ed for Breitbart. “Washington is broken in part because our party’s leadership has strayed from its own principles of free market, limited government, constitutional conservatism.”
Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) — Bridenstine voted against Boehner two years ago when he was a freshman, and will do so again.
“In my opinion, this vote is between continuing the status quo or moving in a new direction,” he said. “Members of Congress now have two good choices, neither one including a vote for the status quo.”
Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) — “After caucusing with my colleagues tonight, I will be voting for a change in House Leadership tomorrow,” he tweeted.
Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) — Gosar voted for Boehner last time around, but won’t this time.
“I cannot stand beside the same leadership that has offered up bills too large to read, used parliamentary tricks to bring bills to the floor and has refused to take swift action against the president and his Administration’s unconstitutional actions,” he said.
Walter Jones (R-N.C.) — Jones voted against Boehner two years ago, and said last month he would not be voting for Boehner again. Jones had not put out any statement this week with any additional details.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) — King also voted for Boehner in 2013, but now says Boehner is to blame for failing to live up to his promise to stop Obamacare.
“I am convinced Congress will not be allowed to restore its constitutional authority under his Speakership and by refusing to do so, cannot call upon the courts to do so,” King wrote in an op-ed for Breitbart. “How then, can I take an oath to the Constitution and put up a vote for John Boehner, almost in the same breath?”
“We need a Speaker who will help us all keep our oath, including his own, to the Constitution, not one who has consistently blocked our efforts to keep ours. I will vote for an alternative candidate for Speaker. I can’t vote for John Boehner again.”
Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.) — Massie voted against Boehner two years ago.
“I will vote for a speaker who can articulate a constitutional vision for America and facilitate an inclusive and orderly legislative process that allows Congress to truly reflect the will of the people.”
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) — Press reports noted that Palmer, a freshman, said last October that he promised voters that he would not support Boehner.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) — Another Republican who is angry over the huge spending bill, Stutzman said a change at the top is needed to ensure the GOP fulfills its promise to govern transparently.
“One month after winning the 2014 midterm elections, the current House leadership forced members to vote on the ‘CROmnibus’ legislation less than three days after it was introduced, a violation of the spirit of the House of Representatives ‘three-day rule’ before voting on bills,” he said on Facebook. “Legislation that contains almost 1,700 pages of legal language deserves the time and attention required to comprehend its content before bringing it to the floor for a vote. Recorded votes that break our own rules are no better than ‘passing a bill so we can find out what’s in it.’ ”
Randy Weber (R-Texas) — “Let’s all get behind Judge Louie Gohmert for Speaker! He has my vote!”
— This story was last updated at 8:53 a.m., Tuesday