WASHINGTON — “If Paul Ryan wants to be speaker, he now has the votes,” South Carolina Republican and Freedom Caucus Member Rep. Mick Mulvaney told reporters as he exited a meeting with fellow caucus members Tuesday night.
Around two-thirds of House Freedom Caucus members lent their support to Rep. Paul Ryan to be the next speaker — a super majority of the group — but not enough to reach the caucus’ required 80 percent threshold to give a full endorsement.
“We try to reach a consensus but we were not able to reach the 80 percent threshold,” said Freedom Caucus member Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador , who said the “ball is now in Ryan’s court.”
“There is some consensus that it’s time for us to move forward. We’re trying to move forward in a positive way. It’s an offer of support,” Labrador said.
Although Ryan has enough support to become speaker, according to Labrador, a super majority of the members of the caucus will vote for him but will not agree to the preconditions he asked for.
“We are sending the message to the conference and to Paul Ryan that he has support but we will continue to ask for changes that we are asking for.”
Ryan made preconditions for his candidacy as speaker Tuesday night. He told the conference that if he were to become speaker, he would not want to eliminate the motion to vacate the speaker’s chair. Additionally he wants to see the conference unite as well as have time to spend with his family.