House of Representatives

Jordan May Run for House Speaker

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), “a prominent and polarizing conservative leader, is strongly considering a run for House speaker in a bid that could upend the race to succeed Paul Ryan,” the Washington Post reports.

USA Today: “It is unlikely that Jordan could get enough votes to win the speakership himself, but he could get the support of dozens of his hardline colleagues which would make winning the speakership more difficult for other, more establishment candidates.”

Who Will Replace Ryan as House GOP Leader?

Playbook: “A quick election benefits McCarthy. He’s already the majority leader, and the natural heir to the top slot.”

“But, McCarthy and Scalise are plotting — they’re always plotting. Even when an election is not on the horizon. These are two men who know exactly how everyone feels about them. They know who’s with them, and who isn’t. They know the pockets they are weakest in. Neither man is starting from scratch when it comes to making a move.”

“Right now, Scalise and McCarthy are in a tough spot. Neither man knows what he is running for. If Ryan does stay speaker until the election, the top GOP slot could be speaker or minority leader, depending on the election outcome. Those are two very different races. Speaker needs 218 — the majority of the House. McCarthy belly flopped on that when Ryan became speaker. Minority leader needs half of the GOP conference. No one will know what that number is until after the election.”

Key point: “The Freedom Caucus — the strongest pocket of conservatives — benefits in a speaker election where the leading candidate doesn’t have 218 votes.”

Buckle Up for Some Brutal Politics Ahead

Playbook: “Think about it: outside of the chaos inside the White House, you’re now going to have a different flavor of chaos on Capitol Hill. Will Paul Ryan remain speaker through the election? Will Kevin McCarthy or Steve Scalise make a move? Will Republicans keep control of the House, and if they don’t, will Nancy Pelosi become speaker? Will anyone challenge her? Will she win a floor vote in a tight Democratic majority? Will the president shut down the government in September over lingering policy issues?”

Ryan May Be Forced Out as Speaker This Summer

One source close to House GOP leadership tells Axios: “Scuttlebutt is that Paul will have to step down from speakership soon. Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is 6 months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back.”

Said another senior GOP House member: “He will be gone by the end of July.”

Trump Takes Out Paul Ryan

Rick Wilson: “Ryan and his caucus hoped to run on the tax cut, the economy, and infrastructure. All of these messages now will be swept aside. Ryan owns his share of the blame; too often, he behaved as if he was some deferential junior VP at a Trump resort and not the leader of the House of Representatives in a co-equal branch of government. The idea, popular among the House leadership, that a diet of ass-kissing and deference would make Trump into a normal President who didn’t need the political equivalent of Depends was always a strategic mistake.”

“Ryan is now paying the price. The rest of his caucus will pay in the fall.”

Ryan’s Legacy Is Enabling Donald Trump

Ron Brownstein: “Paul Ryan, who once aspired to advance the vision of conservative icon Jack Kemp, will leave Washington carrying a more tarnished legacy—as the most important enabler of Donald Trump.”

“No one in the GOP was better equipped, by position and disposition alike, to resist Trump’s racially infused, insular nationalism, or to define a more inclusive competing vision for the party. Instead, Ryan chose to tolerate both Trump’s personal excesses and his racially polarizing words and deeds as the price worth paying to advance Ryan’s own top priorities: cutting spending; regulations; and above all, taxes. The result was that Ryan, more than any other prominent Republican, personified the devil’s bargain the GOP has signed with Trump. And his departure crystallizes the difficult choices Republicans face as Trump redefines the party in his belligerent image.”

Ross Will Not Run Again

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) “told his staff this morning he is retiring, becoming the latest in a string of Republican departures,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Said Ross: “Eight years takes its toll on you. When you feel like a stranger in your hometown, it’s time to say, ‘There’s got to be an exit strategy at some point.'”

Ross joins more than 40 Republicans who have announced they will resign or are leaving for other reasons.

The Cook Political Report moves the seat from the Solid Republican column to Likely Republican.

The Race to Replace Paul Ryan Is On

Politico: “Two top members of Paul Ryan’s leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, have begun angling for his job in the event the speaker calls it quits after the election. They’re closely monitoring the moves of the other and quietly courting Republicans who could help them clinch the top post.”

“Neither man is actively rounding up votes at this point, and both of them downplayed the possibility of a looming clash. Scalise said in an interview that he would not challenge McCarthy for speaker — ‘I’m not running against Kevin for anything,’ he told Politico — while McCarthy said he’s focused solely on keeping the House in November and pursuing President Trump’s agenda.”

Zuckerberg Preps for Congressional Spotlight

New York Times: “Ahead of Mr. Zuckerberg’s trip to Washington, Facebook has hired a team from the law firm WilmerHale as well as outside consultants to coach him on questions lawmakers may ask, and on how to pace his answers and react if interrupted, according to people close to the preparations, who would speak only anonymously because the sessions were private. Facebook has also set up mock hearings involving its communications team and outside advisers who role-play members of Congress.”

“Internal staff has pushed Mr. Zuckerberg to answer lawmakers’ questions directly, and not to appear overly defensive. Their goal is to make Mr. Zuckerberg appear as humble, agreeable and as forthright as possible.”

Gowdy Says He’s Looking Into Pruitt

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) indicated he has begun inquiring into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s activities, according to a video shot by activists on Friday, Politico reports.

Said Gowdy: “I don’t have a lot patience for that kind of stuff.”

“Gowdy didn’t say whether his committee has begun a formal investigation of Pruitt or some more preliminary review, but he said that public servants must ‘be a good steward’ of taxpayer money.”

Congressman Pulls Out Gun In Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) “is not backing down from critics after he pulled out his own personal — and loaded — .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday,” the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

Said Norman: “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords. I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”