Congressman Steve King is still backing a Florida congressman in the race to lead Republicans in the U.S. House. On Tuesday night, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan announced he was willing to serve as speaker, if House Republicans agreed to a list of “requests”.
“The requests that he has put forth, essentially requirements, empower the speaker more, not less,” King told Radio Iowa this afternoon. “The problem we have here is a speaker with far too much power rather than a speaker that doesn’t have enough.”
King spoke with Ryan this morning and describes Ryan as “a friend and a colleague.”
“There’s a genuine warmness and affection for Paul Ryan in this congress and I’m among those folks, but we have some significant disagreements on huge issues,” King said.
King has opposed raising the country’s debt limit, something Ryan has voted to do. But King’s biggest beef is with Ryan’s support for a series of immigration reform bills in 2013.
“Paul Ryan subscribes to the CATO economic theory that people — labor — should be able to transfer themselves as easily as capital can be moved around the country by the click of a mouse and, you know, you can’t do that with essentially a welfare state, which we are today,” King said. “Furthermore, that open immigration transforms our country, our society, our culture and our civilization.”
King is “firmly supporting” Florida Congressman Daniel Webster to be House speaker. King said he’s been “watching and working” with Webster for two and a half years to figure out how to change the “power structure” in the U.S. House so the members rather than the leaders are in charge.
King said he believes Ryan has more support among House Republicans than Kevin McCarthy did. McCarthy is the California congressman who abruptly withdrew from the speaker’s race. But King calculates Ryan lacks the broad support among House Republicans to secure the speaker’s spot for himself.
Ryan has said if his list of requests aren’t met and he doesn’t have the support of all three major factions within the House GOP, he’ll be happy remaining in his dream job of leading the House committee that drafts tax policy.