Is the Republican Party really unified behind Paul Ryan?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 28, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.

REP. STENY HOYER, D, HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: I certainly think the members of the caucus, while they were not enamored with all the pieces of the legislation, nevertheless thought it was a positive effort and they are reviewing it in that light.

REP. MO BROOKS, R, ALABAMA: I will not be voting for it because in my view it is financially irresponsible. It increases spending by roughly
$80 billion a year -- excuse me, over a two-year period of time.

REP. TOM COLE, R, OKLAHOMA: Compared to the alternative, which would be default, sequester, terrible cuts in the American military, this is a reasonable deal. It's paid for.

REP. JIM JORDAN, R, OHIO: This latest deal is terrible. We're voting against it. Several of us just voted against the rule that would bring this bill to the floor.


BRET BAIER, ‘SPECIAL REPORT’ HOST: Well, it did pass, the budget deal, including a debt ceiling increase passed by a vote of 266 to 167. All the no votes were Republicans.

We're back with the panel. A.B., we have seen this before. But now we're hearing that Mitch McConnell has called cloture on this bill and they expect the Senate to vote Friday. Will it have trouble there getting through what likely will be at least some efforts by Republicans to slow it up?

A.B. STODDARD: Well, it will have trouble there. Ted Cruz is there.

BAIER: Rand Paul is there.

STODDARD: Rand Paul is there threatening to filibuster. And you never really know how long that will last. But this was the best that John Boehner could do to protect Paul Ryan and get something through the House. And we will see what happens. But this is what we expected John Boehner to do before Friday, October 30th.

BAIER: To clear the barn?


BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES: Look, it was interesting watching those clips of the members of Congress making their case for or against the deal. I think, you know, Tom Cole sort of shrugged said, eh, it's a reasonable deal but didn't seem terribly enthusiastic. Jim Jordan and others opposed it, which I would do certainly if I were their shoes. I think it's a clunker of a deal.

But you are getting from leadership this sense that this is a wonderful deal. The statement from Kevin McCarthy says it strengthens our national security, protects our economy and American jobs, with real reforms to entitlement. No it doesn't. It spends $85 billion over the first three years. It ends up providing $5 billion less in defense spending that even President Obama requested. It's a stinker of a deal.
The most honest case for the deal would be to say, look, this deal stinks, but that guy is president, and we want to clear the deck so we can have a bigger argument about bigger things.

BAIER: And change the process. Speaking of changing the process, Paul Ryan tonight is the House speaker designate, having been voted by his conference. Take a listen to him today.


REP. PAUL RYAN, R, WISCONSIN: Tomorrow we are turning the page we are not going to have a house that looked like it looked the last two years. We are going to move forward. We are going to unify. Our party has lost its vision, and we are going to replace it with a vision.


BAIER: But the party wasn't as unified as people thought. Today on the vote breakdown for House speaker today, Ryan got 200 votes. Daniel Webster got 43 votes. And there you see Kevin McCarthy and Marsha Blackburn. The point is, Charles, you need 218 to win. So in between today and tomorrow when the vote there's going to even some more.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, but some of the members who voted against him made it very clear that as the internal debate they would prefer a conservative. They obviously would be able to tell their constituents if they get a primary challenge, essentially that Ryan was not my first choice. But I think at least half of those who voted against him are going to support Ryan on the floor of the House where it really counts.

BAIER: Yes, Webster even says he doesn't want to be nominated.

KRAUTHAMMER: Right. So, essentially, it was a way to register a kind of a protest. But I don't think it's going to influence where they are.

And, look, I agree entirely with Steve. This is an awful deal that was agreed to, but there is no alternative at this point. This is way down the road. It's the end of the Boehner era. You want to start afresh with Ryan. Let's do it, get it behind us. And the idea that it's paid for is a farce. All the savings are in the future. They never happen. And all the spending is going to happen now.

BAIER: A.B., the point being raising this, not that Ryan is going to lose that vote, but that the fact that these members felt compelled to signal that they were going to vote for somebody else when it's a fait accompli that he is going to win.

STODDARD: That says it all, that says it all, because there is no Ryan era without what Boehner did this week. He would be the same numbers with a gun to his throat like Boehner has been for all these years. And these protest votes when they know they can go home and say it wasn't their first choice but they had to vote for Ryan the next day anyway is so indicative of the protest movement that rattles the House conference, every GOP conference every single day.

And the only way Ryan can go on to entitlement reforms and tax reform hearings and bills is because all of the necessary legislation will be gone. All the must pass clips will be gone and he won't be having these types of protests like he had tonight. I think it's a shame and it's just got to end. It's just not good for the Republicans no matter who is speaker.

BAIER: That's it for the panel. But stay tuned to see what football and the presidential race have in common.  

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