Ryan Implies Support for McCarthy to Take Over as Speaker

California's McCarthy expected to seek speaker position if Republicans keep the House

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California's Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana's Steve Scalise have both made it clear they want the job.

With House Speaker Paul Ryan's announcement that he'll retire from Congress at the end of his current term, a new leadership battle is brewing inside the Capitol - setting up a 216-day fight for the Speaker's gavel.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, one of two front-runners to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Thursday that he won't seek the position if Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy runs for it.

"It's common knowledge. You would think if there's a pecking order it would be the next man up", Walker said. "And so I do not see that kind of a disruptive process like we had when I came into this office".

McCarthy, R-Calif, withdrew from the race for Speaker in 2015 after John Boehner left Congress, as lawmakers whispered about problems in his personal life.

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He added that "a lot of members" think he should remain as Speaker until the midterm elections in November, highlighting his fundraising abilities.

Since then, McCarthy has taken steps to woo his onetime skeptics. But Meadows has said he's not interested and no other names have been seriously floated.

McCarthy has an advantage he lacked in his 2015 campaign for speaker: a friendly relationship with President Donald Trump. But others said the race could stretch until after the election clarifies the number, ideology and mood of House Republicans. But he was one of Trump's earliest and most loyal congressional supporters in the 2016 presidential race. Republicans were split over the bill. "Members won't follow a lame duck, he'll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is 6 months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to offer support for anyone in particular for the speakership at he Wednesday briefing. If weird stuff happens and neither McCarthy nor Scalise can cobble together a sufficiently sizeable coalition of supporters, a prominent hard-line conservative like Meadows could pitch themselves to the caucus as particularly well-equipped to work with President Trump, whose relationship with Ryan could charitably be described as "strained".

"(McCarthy) called me once over the break, but I talk with those guys all the time", Jordan told McClatchy. Many had interpreted his comment as a way to leave the door open for a speaker run should McCarthy fail to garner the needed support.

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Meadows mentioned Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, House Natural Resources Committee chairman, as a dark-horse candidate, because he was the speaker of the Utah House.

Many conservatives were angered by the size of the $1.3 trillion spending package that Congress passed last month.

Now the House has 238 Republicans.

But if Republicans hold onto the majority, there will be a speaker's election on the floor that requires a majority of House member votes. No doubt, the Caucus will seek to use this fact as a means of gaining leverage and power within the Caucus and the price that they are likely to ask would likely include chairmanships (or Ranking Member if the GOP ends up the minority) of key House committees as well as leadership slots for some of the top members of the Freedom Caucus itself.

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