Second District Congressman French Hill said the void in House leadership from the unexpected departure of Speaker John Boehner could be filled by an existing GOP committee chairman.
A week after Boehner announced his sudden departure, heir-apparent Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abandoned his bid for House Speaker leaving D.C. observers wondering who might be the next Congressional leader.
“I’m thinking that it will be one of our current committee chairman in the House. That’s my instinct, and of course, all bets are off. This is a very fluid situation,” Hill (R-Little Rock) said in an interview on Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock on Sunday.
When asked if the 30-40 members of the House Freedom Caucus – a group of Tea Party and ultraconservative Republicans – have enough power to sway the election of a new Speaker, Hill said he agreed with some of their objections.
“Part of that minority that you’re talking about is about ‘process’ not ‘personality.’ They want somebody who is a good communicator, who will take the House’s message loud and clear to the Senate and down to the executive branch,” said Hill. “But they also want a process where the committee system works. As a member of Congress for just nine months, I share that.”
Hill added: “I think when we have concern that kind of grinds the process to a halt that we shouldn’t accept that halt. We should have leadership in the House – both on the majority and minority side – get together, figure out what the problem is, and solve it to move on.”
Hill said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) may be the “closest to a consensus candidate” among House Republicans, but the Arkansas first-term Congressman said he’s been contacted by other possible new entrants in the race.
“I’m not clear that we know all the candidates yet,” Hill said, claiming that in the past week he’s received emails and contact from Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Bill Flores (R-Texas), and Mike Conaway (R-Texas).
Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Daniel Webster (R-Florida) have previously committed to running for the top House post.
Hill also discussed in-depth his recent trip to Laredo, Texas to view the border situation between the U.S. and Mexico. Additionally, he described House efforts to end a decades-old American embargo on crude oil exports. Watch his full interview below.