When Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced his candidacy for Speaker, the dysfunction in the Republican Party hit an all new high, as the Utah Republican dodged questions and refused to say what he would do if he were elected Speaker.
CHAFFETZ: Well, look, internally, I do think we have to bridge the divide. And you have to — I’m being recruited. I didn’t just — you know, I didn’t wake up last week and think I’m going to be speaker. But I’ve had enough members who’ve come and said, please, Jason, do this.
We don’t want to fight internally. But realistically, we can’t vote to promote the existing leadership.
So, that internal factor is there, and I think will continue to the floor of the House when that vote actually happens. And I think a new fresh face who says, look, how are we going to — how are we going to hold the line for the full political spectrum, what are we going to fight for? I am not there to promote the status quo. I am not there to do what Mitch McConnell or the president wants to do. That’s not what we were elected to do.
WALLACE: Respectfully, because you’re maybe the next speaker, would you — how far are you willing to take the fight to defund Planned Parenthood?
CHAFFETZ: I have — the job as speaker is to unite our party in the House and we’re going to hold the line, from the whole political spectrum. That’s what I want to do. And then we’re going to go fight and we’re going to make that case to the American people.
WALLACE: What about budget caps under sequestration? Are you willing to lift the caps so you would have more spending both on defense and some domestic spending?
CHAFFETZ: I want to cut — personally, I want to cut spending. Personally, I just don’t believe we can continue to add to the deficit. So, actually, personally, I like the budget cap.
I do believe we need more money for the military, we need more money for the V.A. We ought to take care of the people who take care of us. And I do want to fight cancer that is killing 1,500 people a day.
But that’s — again, it’s not my personal agenda. We’re going to move forward. As the speaker, you got to take the will of our body, appreciate and respect the process and then go fight for that.
Chaffetz sounded a lot like John Boehner, except he is going to fight with Mitch McConnell more often. Rep. Chaffetz wouldn’t make his positions clear because either way he would lose support in the race to be the next Speaker.
Rep. Chaffetz suggested that he isn’t going to lead, but that he was willing to be led by the crazy caucus in the House. Rep. Kevin McCarthy is probably going to be next Speaker of the House someday, but it may not be anytime soon. McCarthy doesn’t have the votes to win on the House floor, and he may not get them by the end of the month.
If Republicans can’t agree on electing a new Speaker, and let’s face it, House Republicans agree on virtually nothing, what would happen after Boehner leaves? House Republicans forced their Speaker out, and now they are on the verge of complete disarray.
Republicans are being consumed by their own civil war, and they are going to be easy pickings for President Obama and Congressional Democrats on both the budget and the debt ceiling.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association