Conservative House Republicans Say Ryan’s ‘Honeymoon Is Over’’Erik Wasson
Conservative House Republicans want Speaker Paul Ryan to act on their priorities and “show the voters he is a different speaker than John Boehner,” said Representative Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican.
“The honeymoon is over,” said Labrador, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
The caucus will press this year for votes on a tax overhaul, Obamacare replacement, welfare-law changes and the impeachment of IRS head John Koskinen, Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio told reporters today.
Ryan, who became speaker last year after conservative opposition forced out his predecessor Boehner, has a limited amount of time to prove he’s a different kind of leader.
“Frankly everything he has done so far is no different than anything John Boehner would have done,” Labrador said. “I think you see that reflected in his poll numbers.”
A majority of Republicans surveyed by Economist/YouGov view Ryan as more of a compromiser than someone who “sticks to his principles no matter what.” His favorability rating among Republicans has fallen to 46%, down from 69% in November.
About three dozen Republicans are members of the Freedom Caucus. Their views matter because Ryan will need 218 votes early next year when the House will formally vote for the next speaker. Republicans control the chamber with 246 seats to 188 for Democrats.
Ryan and his leadership team will be seeking input next week at the annual Republican retreat in Baltimore on how to shape the House agenda for the year.
The timing for a major tax bill would be one of the decisions to be made after that gathering, said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, who’s in charge of writing tax legislation. The Texas Republcian said in an interview that “2016 will be a year to lay the groundwork for comprehensive tax reform.”
A leadership aide said decisions such as how quickly to try to make good on Ryan’s pledge to move all 12 annual appropriations bills through the House also would come out of that meeting.
Ryan’s work last year to shepherd passage of a $1.1 trillion government spending bill that was supported by many Democrats drew particular Republican criticism today.
Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky said the message his fellow conservatives are giving to Ryan is that if there is another omnibus spending bill next December, he’ll get an “F-minus” grade as speaker.
“If we pass appropriations bills and stand our ground and force the Senate to face these issues, that’s an A,” Massie said.
A Ryan spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.