House Freedom Caucus (HFC) co-founder Jim Jordan detailed his vision for the United States at a conservative conference on May 17, adding further speculation the stalwart is angling for a bid to take over for outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
It is time to get back to the basics of American life: God, family and country, Jordan told the crowd gathered. He harked on other values, like discipline, dedication, a sense of service to others, and a life grounded in religion. All of these, Jordan contends, are what is needed to keep America strong, safe and prosperous in the future.
Jordan thinks the primary focus for Republicans right now should be on maintaining their House majority and ensuring the next speaker is committed to making good on what the party promised voters in 2016, according to conversations The Daily Caller News Foundation had with House staffers.
In his speech last week, Jordan said just that: it is time for congressional Republicans to deliver on the policies they promised voters in the last election cycle.
“What did you tell the American people you were going to do? Go do that,” Jordan said in the speech. “There is one guy who is doing that right now, and not all of us in this room supported him when he ran for president. He is doing what he said he would do.”
Jordan raddled off a laundry list of accomplishments on the part of President Donald Trump’s administration — cutting taxes, getting Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench, eliminating the Iran Deal, and moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
“Compare and contrast that to Congress. Think about this: other than the tax cuts, you tell me what Congress has done that is worth while. You tell me what we have done that is consistent with the promises we made the American people in that election, on that day, Nov. 8, 2016?” Jordan asked.
His statement there is similar to what the congressman told TheDCNF in early February, making the argument that the next speaker, whoever they may be, should be focused on delivering on promises. (RELATED: Is Jim Jordan Running For Speaker?)
“What’s important is not who the next speaker is, but what the next speaker does,” Jordan told TheDCNF in early February. “It’s time to start delivering on what we told the American people we would do.”
Two of the top House Republicans — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana — are angling for the position, but neither thought to have a guaranteed lock on the speakership.
McCarthy failed to garner the 218 required votes to become speaker in 2015, but his particularly close relationship with the president has some expecting that, along with Ryan’s full fledged endorsement, will give him an upper hand over Scalise in the coming months.
Scalise wouldn’t rule out a potential bid for Ryan’s job but is also adamant he would not run against McCarthy, who he considers a “good friend,” he said in March.
Yet, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who is best friends with Jordan, might have the closest relationship with the president over any other member of Congress. During his speech Thursday, Jordan joked that Meadows was in the back, taking a phone call from the president, which Meadows is known to do on a regular basis.
Conservatives are already pressing Jordan to make a serious play at speaker. Nearly 50 conservative figures are circulating a letter that will eventually go to Jordan, urging him to throw his hat in the race.
Jordan’s response to questions about the speaker’s race have been the same since the day TheDCNF first reported the growing wave of support for his candidacy: there is no speaker’s race, and we need to focus on the issues. (RELATED: DARKHORSE: Growing Wave Of Support For Jordan To Become Speaker)
Jordan and Meadows are no strangers to taking on leadership, having been a continuous thorn in the side of Ryan, McCarthy and Scalise since Republicans took over the House.
Leadership got a wake-up call Friday morning when Jordan, Meadows and HFC members shot down a farm bill in order to secure a vote on an immigration proposal they were promised months ago.
Ryan and McCarthy huddled with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and co-founder Jim Jordan in the back of the House chamber before the final gavel, but their 11th-hour attempts to sell the bill fell on deaf ears.
The bill failed with members voting 198-213, dealing a decisive blow to leadership.
Friday’s vote is evidence the HFC has the leverage to sway major policy issues, given the power of the caucus’ 36 members’ votes. If the caucus votes as a coalition, they can kill a bill or get concessions from leadership.
That could come into play with the speaker’s race. Many believe Jordan’s bid would be to get concessions from either McCarthy or Scalise, but Ryan still has the rest of year as speaker. That is, if he isn’t pressured to step down earlier.
McCarthy’s folks are reportedly nervous about the potential heat he will take in a drawn out speaker’s race if Ryan decides to do as he has promised and “run through the tape.”
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