One Republican lawmaker is warning that conservative voters won’t be “very happy” if House majority leader Kevin McCarthy moves up the ladder and replaces John Boehner as speaker of the House.
“If conservative members of Congress — like the tea party caucus, the freedom caucus and the liberty caucus — go back home to their town halls and say, ‘Guess what, we replaced John Boehner with his right-hand man,’ the constituents are not going to be very happy with that outcome,” Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said in an interview with The Daily Caller.
“I think there’s a lot of hesitation right now among the conservative members of Congress about just moving everybody up one notch in leadership,” Massie said.
Boehner, facing the threat of an ouster by conservative members, announced his retirement last week. McCarthy on Monday formally announced he would run to replace Boehner.
But Massie, a vocal critic of Boehner’s leadership, expressed concern that things would not be much different if the speaker is replaced by McCarthy, who was previously the GOP whip before becoming majority leader.
“What’s going to change?” Massie asked.
“It doesn’t seem like much will change if you just move everybody up a slot,” he said. “I mean, they’ve all been a party to the misdeeds that Boehner has committed — like rushing legislation to the floor without giving us time to read the bills, kicking people off their committees, taking away their subcommittee chairmanships. They’ve all been a party to that and haven’t done anything to stop it.”
While McCarthy is believed to be the favorite, Massie disputed that the California Republican already has it locked up. “This is no cake walk for McCarthy.”
For now, Massie says he supports the bid of the only other announced candidate for speaker, Florida Rep. Daniel Webster. “At this point, I support Daniel Webster, yes,” he said.
“I like Daniel Webster’s message of reforming the process, and getting back to principle instead of power,” he said.
“The speaker ruled with power,” Massie said of Boehner. “He was happy to be speaker of the United States, instead of speaker of the House, where he thought his job was to go over and broker a deal with Obama and Senate majority leader, whether that’s Reid or McConnell, and then come back to the House, collect our voting cards, and implement his vision. That’s not the way our founding fathers intended for this place to work. And we need to get back to regular order.”
In his letter to members asking for their support, McCarthy acknowledged the tensions inside the GOP conference, suggesting things would be different under his leadership. “We can’t ignore the differences that exist, but we can and must heal the divisions in our conference with work, time, and trust.”
“I am also sensitive to what is happening outside of the Beltway,” McCarthy said. “I want us to be much closer to the people we represent, and I want them to once again feel like this is their government, they are in charge, and we are here to serve them.”