California Representative Kevin McCarthy is almost certain to be the next speaker of the U.S. House, two Republican representatives said on Sunday.
House Republicans could vote internally as early as this week on who will replace current Speaker John Boehner, who unexpectedly announced on Friday he plans to resign in the midst of difficult budget negotiations. McCarthy, who currently holds the No. 2 position in the Republican leadership, will likely move up, Representatives Mick Mulvaney and Tom Cole said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I don’t think there’s much doubt Kevin will be the next speaker of the House, and he should be,” Cole, of Oklahoma, said on the show.
Boehner said that a short-term spending bill will be passed before the end of the month to keep the government from shutting down.
“The Senate is expected to pass a continuing resolution next week,” Boehner said on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” his first interview since announcing his resignation. “The House will take up the Senate bill.”
He indicated that he will rely on Democratic votes in the House to pass the measure. “I expect my Democrat colleagues want to keep the government open as much as I do,” he said.
The Ohio Republican, now unshackled from any worry about his leadership post or re-election, may in his last month in Congress try to forge deals on contentious issues ranging from increasing the U.S.debt limit to a long-term highway bill and re-authorizing the Export-Import Bank -- initiatives many conservatives oppose.
“I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” Boehner said.
Cole, a close Boehner ally, said he hopes internal House Republican elections for a new speaker and other leadership posts will be held quickly. Other Republicans are urging a delay so that the party can debate its priorities and so potential McCarthy challengers can consolidate support.
“The important question is, will things change? Will they change for the better or we simply replace Mr. Boehner with somebody else who do the same thing?” said Mulvaney, a South Carolina conservative who had criticized Boehner’s leadership.
Second-term Representative Daniel Webster of Florida is the only Republican other than McCarthy who has said he will run for speaker. He won 12 votes in a challenge to Boehner in January.
Conservatives have threatened to block spending bills that continue federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the women’s health provider whose services include abortion. Boehner’s departure resolves that conflict in the short-term, but the temporary spending measure is expected to expire Dec. 11. Boehner’s successor will then have to navigate the same political tempest.
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