Congressman Jim Bridenstine Comments on the Vote for Speaker of the House
(Washington, DC, November 14, 2014) I explained my reasoning on the vote for the Republican Conference nominee for Speaker of the House in an op-ed to be published in the Tulsa World on Friday. I feel it is important to communicate with my constituents on this issue, and the Tulsa World is the largest newspaper in my District. The following is the text of the op-ed:
The Speaker Vote
Rep. Jim Bridenstine
Yesterday, the Republican nominee for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was selected in a meeting of all the Republican Members elected to serve in the 114th Congress. The debate and vote was in a Members-only meeting to allow open discussion and build consensus for the Republican nominee who will face off against the Democrat nominee in a vote on the floor of the House in early January.
John Boehner was selected as the Republican nominee. While he is well liked by many within the Republican conference, I continue to believe that Speaker Boehner has not been sufficiently strong in challenging the President -- the most ideologically liberal and obstinate in our nation’s history. Additionally, there are issues on which the Speaker and I continue to disagree.
An effort to replace Speaker Boehner would require several steps, each offering very little chance of success. The first step would be to rally enough Republican dissenting votes to block a 50% + 1 vote on the floor. The Republicans have a historically high 60-seat majority in the newly elected 114th Congress, possibly higher as midterm election vote counts continue. With this large of a majority, the probability of securing enough dissenting votes is remote, especially after a private nomination meeting.
If 30 or more Republicans voted for someone else and Speaker Boehner did not get a 50% + 1 vote, a second private meeting of the Republican Conference would occur. At that meeting the dissenting Members would have to withstand pressure from the balance of the Republican Conference. The minority of Republicans would have to offer an alternative candidate who the majority of Republicans would accept. The probability that there would be 30 or more dissenters is virtually zero, and likewise the chance that the majority of Republicans would capitulate to the minority is near zero.
If the minority of the Conference somehow prevailed, there would be another vote on the floor, again requiring a 50% + 1 majority. This time, members of the original majority would vote against the new Republican nominee to block the minority. The process would be in shambles, the public would be outraged, and Democrats would be strengthened. If this impossible scenario happened, it would be the worst outcome for those of us who have been fighting for the conservative movement.
My goal has always been to do what is right for our country, regardless of the political consequences. In my first term, with a smaller Republican majority, I voted against Speaker Boehner on the floor believing that we could deny him a 50% + 1 majority. However, Rep. Boehner was elected as several potential dissenters succumbed to pressure. While that effort may have been the right move under a smaller Republican majority, it is not the right move under a larger majority.
As the Speaker attempts to balance diverse political viewpoints within the Republican Conference, conservatives must encourage him to lead the Conference in repealing Obamacare, securing the southern border, balancing the budget, and blocking a bad deal with Iran that would endanger Israel and our partners in the Middle East. I intend to send Speaker Boehner a letter letting him know that I will vote for him on the floor, but that I expect a bold stance on these issues. Without Harry Reid as a roadblock in the Senate, there is no excuse for the House to underperform.
The midterm elections proved the vitality of the conservative movement. We are strong and growing stronger. As more conservatives join our ranks in a larger Republican Conference, we must continue doing all we can to advance conservative principles which enable economic growth and keep us morally grounded and militarily strong. As always, I will fiercely guard my independence, continuing to strive for what is right for our country.