WASHINGTON — The House Freedom Caucus — which was influential in triggering the demise of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s last bid for the speakership — has not ruled him out for the top job this time around, according to former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement Wednesday that he would not seek re-election triggered a battle for the position. McCarthy, R-Calif., currently the second-ranking House Republican, is expected to vie with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.
Jordan, R-Ohio, said the Freedom Caucus, a staunchly conservative group of about three dozen House Republicans, hasn’t decided who they’d throw their support behind. He mentioned California’s McCarthy and Scalise but also said another candidate might be possible.
Currently the House has 238 Republicans. The GOP members elected in November will choose the next speaker if the party retains a majority.
Jordan said the Freedom Caucus was looking for a “complete reset” in Congress, and gave a big example of why that would be needed: the budget bill that was passed last month.
“It’s time for a reset and a refocus on one primary objective: Doing what the American people elected us to do, doing what we told them we were going to do,” Jordan said. “And we did not do that four weeks ago on that big omnibus spending package, not even close.”