Congressman Steve King is hoping to influence the vote among his fellow House Republicans to replace John Boehner as the new Speaker of the House. King is chairman of the “Conservative Opportunity Society” in the House, a group that holds a weekly breakfast on Wednesdays and he will co-host an event in Washington, D.C. tonight.
“Also I’ve asked the Freedom Caucus, the Liberty Caucus and the Tea Party Caucus to all join, so we’ll have our four conservative organizations there,” King says. “We’ll interview the candidates…We’ll go as long as we need to until we get all questions answered.”
King says under the current House leadership the legislative branch has too often taken a back seat to the executive and judicial branches. King is hoping the candidates for speaker explain tonight how they plan to restore the power of the legislative branch.
“I want to hear from them: What are you going to do to restore Article I in the Constitution?” King asks. “…We’ve just shoveled our Article I legislative authority out the window.”
California Congressman Kevin McCarthy is currently the number two Republican in the U.S. House and is seeking the top job, but King says a Utah congressman has recently emerged as a leading challenger.
“Jason Chaffetz who chairs the Oversight Committee, he’s a strong candidate for speaker,” King says. “I’ve worked with him on the Judiciary Committee since he came into congress.”
In January, King nominated Florida Congressman Daniel Webster to be House Speaker, but King says Chaffetz appears to be “an alternative candidate” who probably has more support now than Webster does. McCarthy, Chaffetz and Webster will all attend tonight’s meeting.
The “Conservative Opportunity Society” group of House Republicans that King leads was formed by Newt Gingrich in 1983, a dozen years before Gingrich was elected speaker of the House. King has been the group’s chairman for over a decade.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)