Prairie Politics

Huelskamp, Pompeo weigh in on Paul Ryan’s candidacy for speaker

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp says Rep. Paul Ryan (pictured) will need to convince conservative members of the House that his speakership would be different from departing Speaker John Boehner.
U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp says Rep. Paul Ryan (pictured) will need to convince conservative members of the House that his speakership would be different from departing Speaker John Boehner. Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp says Rep. Paul Ryan will need to convince conservative members of the House that his speakership would be different from departing Speaker John Boehner.

Ryan planned to meet with the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday afternoon as he assesses support for a run for House speaker.

Ryan has "voted very closely – nearly always – with John Boehner," Huelskamp said. "That's the big question: How are you going to be different than John Boehner? ... When you promise a fresh start, how will you get there?"

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Wichita, who earlier had hinted he could run for speaker, said Wednesday that he had not decided. “We’ll see. Chairman Ryan gave some remarks last night. We’ll see how that all plays out. Come Friday we should have a better idea. Call me back Friday," he said.

The caucus previously had announced its support for Florida Rep. Daniel Webster's bid for speaker, but that could change depending on what members hear from other candidates, including Ryan, Huelskamp said.

Huelskamp, the Republican from Fowler, said Ryan will need to convince the ultra-conservative caucus that his speakership would be very different from Boehner's and added it doesn't help that Boehner has endorsed him.

Huelskamp said Webster has identified what the members of the House Freedom Caucus think is wrong with the U.S. House: top-down leadership and an insider culture that punishes and alienates conservatives who don't fall into line.

“I'm not sure how Paul Ryan would change the House," he said.

Huelskamp and other conservatives also will press Ryan on his position on amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The Kansas congressman said he's concerned by Ryan's support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill passed by the Senate in 2013.

"He certainly is not in step with most Republicans and the Republican party platform on that issue," Huelskamp said.

And he has doubts that Ryan could do the job of speaker without traveling extensively or working weekends.

Huelskamp said he's sympathetic to Ryan's desire to spend time with his young children.

"But there are a lot of 9 to 5 jobs and speaker is not one of those," Huelskamp said.

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