Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Senatorial Sasse-iness (sic) on Choice for Speaker

Freshman Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) generated a social media storm as he chimed in on choices for the Speaker of House chair which will be open at the end of October.

It was unclear if Senator Sasse was tweeting tongue in cheek or it was serious Sasse-iness (sic) when he suggested electing American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks for Speaker or if his choice epitomized the qualities of vision, hard work, resolve and wit which Sasse believes is key to be an effective Speaker.

Prior to his social media sharing, Sasse hoped that the Speaker's election would be a transformational debate on the direction of the country, as opposed a discussion as to whether conservatives could be placated.

Sasse did not express any favoritism towards the three announced Speaker candidates: Majority Leader Rep.  Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23rd) who Speaker Boehner favors; Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL 8th) who first defeated Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL 8th now 9th and running for Senate) and House Government Reform Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT 3rd).

GOP Candidates for House Speaker McCarthy Webster Chaffetz
[L] Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23) [C] Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL 8th) [R] Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT 3rd)

When pressed about what Nebraskan voters thought about the Speaker's race, Sasse candidly quipped:  "You can't really go anywhere in Nebraska where anyone cases about that question. They don't care.  They think Congress sucks."

The House Republican caucus will meet on Thursday October 8th to vote for Speaker.  Rep. McCarthy insists that he has 200 votes for Speaker.  But the anonymity for votes in the Caucus might not yield as much support as the Majority Leader expects.

And if no candidate reaches 218 votes (or a majority if members vote "present" or miss the vote)  when the full House considers the measure, then an interim speaker takes over, which may be the Majority Leader. There is a concern that the two dozen Freedom Caucus members may vote in bloc and block McCarthy from winning.

It is interesting that the GOP Caucus has put off other votes on leadership, like a Majority Leader vote in case Mr. McCarthy is poised to ascend to the Speakership, until the day before current Speaker Boehner resigns. This might allow a candidate who has a plurality but not a majority time to garner more votes.  The timing also may put pressure on members not to invite chaos in the House.

Perhaps then Arthur Brooks in the big chair might not seem like such an outlandish idea.

h/t: Politico

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