Ryan pledges win over farm-district conservatives

By Philip Brasher

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2015 - Paul Ryan took over as House speaker with the support of all but one Republican on the House Agriculture Committee and most of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida was the lone Republican on Agriculture to vote against Ryan, opting instead for fellow Floridian Daniel Webster, who received nine votes. Ryan, who needed 218 votes, got 236.

Lets Talk Food The Freedom Caucus members who backed Ryan included Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, one of several conservatives who was punished for bucking the GOP leadership in the last Congress. Huelskamp lost his Agriculture committee seat in 2012 and was denied a subcommittee chairmanship on another committee in January.

Huelskamp voted for Webster when the GOP conference chose Ryan as its nominee on Wednesday. But Huelskamp said he voted for Ryan on the House floor Thursday because of his promises to reform House procedures and to require a majority of Republican support for moving major issues to the floor. During a meeting last week with the Freedom Caucus members, Ryan specifically assured them that he wouldn't allow immigration reform legislation to move in the House unless it had majority GOP support.

Huelskamp also said that Ryan has promised “to stop the culture of retribution and intimidation against fellow Republicans. Now Paul Ryan has 14 months to prove he can be a speaker for the future, not of the past.”

Yoho said he voted for Webster because of “his desire to lead based on principle, not politics.” But Yoho said Ryan would “institute structural changes that decentralize power and provide input from all members of Congress - not just those in the speaker's favor.”


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In his acceptance speech, Ryan reached out to the disaffected conservatives with a pledge “to make some changes, starting with how the House does business.”

Ryan went on: “Open up the process. Let people participate. And they might change their tune. A neglected minority will gum up the works. A respected minority will work in good faith. Instead of trying to stop the majority, they might try to become the majority.”

The National Corn Growers Association applauded Ryan's election. 

“We hope Congress will heed the advice of their new leader. It's time to get back on the path of doing the people's business,” the group said. “From reforming our tax code to finding long-term solutions for our nation's roads and bridges, there is important work to do. We ask Congress to take Speaker Ryan's words to heart. Let's wipe the slate clean, put aside partisan differences, and commit to moving our country forward together.”

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