Despite serious reservations, today I voted for John Boehner for House Speaker because there was no better option before me. I would have loved the opportunity to elect a principled Speaker who shares Alabama’s conservative values. Unfortunately, that was not a viable option because we lack the votes to elect such a Speaker.
Elections have consequences. In 2014, the liberal, establishment wing of the Republican Conference won more elections than did the Republican conservative wing. As a consequence, only three things could come of today’s House Speaker vote: (1) John Boehner is reelected Speaker (either today or at a later time), (2) the House elects a Speaker even more liberal than John Boehner, or (3) there is chaos for days, weeks, or months because the House cannot lawfully conduct any business until a Speaker is elected. That would mean no votes on funding the government, no votes to repeal or replace ObamaCare, no votes to defund President Obama’s illegal amnesty for illegal aliens, and the like.
I don’t support chaos and government shutdowns. I believe it unwise and counterproductive for the GOP Congress’ first act to be a dysfunctional inability to elect a Speaker followed by chaos.
I don’t support risking the election of a new, more liberal House Speaker who is even less likely to adequately fund national defense and NASA, more likely to support ObamaCare and illegal alien amnesty, and less likely to address America’s deficits and debt. That’s not good for Alabama or America.
Hence, the best option was voting for House Speaker John Boehner. So I did.
As an aside, the real vote for House Speaker took place in November, when House Republicans selected John Boehner as our nominee. I personally encouraged our conservative, viable House leaders (Jeb Hensarling [TX], Jim Jordan [OH], Tom Price [GA], etc.) to be Speaker candidates. They, and all other conservative leaders, declined to run. In November, the “conservative forces” were unable find a candidate to rally behind and the opportunity passed, even though the November GOP Conference vote would have been by a secret ballot.
To use an apt analogy, the GOP “primary” for House Speaker was in November. That is when serious opposition to John Boehner should have arisen, and when we could have addressed the issue in a more deliberative fashion. Republican John Boehner’s “general election” against the Democrat’s nominee, Nancy Pelosi, was on January 6. Splitting the Republican general election vote made no sense because there was literally no better result that could ensue.
During the last two Congresses, I helped lead the fight in the House to stop Obama’s illegal alien amnesty, to repeal or replace ObamaCare, to balance our budget, to reprioritize spending so as to properly fund national security, and to promote and protect free enterprise solutions that create jobs and higher incomes for American families. I will continue that work.
Now that we have a Republican Senate to join us, and the internal fight over House Speaker is behind us, I look forward to uniting our efforts to reverse the damage President Obama’s policies have done to America’s national security, economy, and international prestige. I look forward to fighting these good fights.
Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives