Chaffetz, Webster promise to delegate power in House

Daniel Webster promises to delegate power if speaker
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Story highlights

  • Candidates running for House speaker said Monday they would listen more to rank-and-file House members
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Florida, both said that members need to have more say

Washington (CNN)House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Monday that he is running for House speaker in part because he and other rank-and-file Republicans feel they have been shut out from major House leadership decisions.

Chaffetz, a Utah Republican running a dark horse bid for House speaker, echoed some of the same points made by another long shot Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida.
"It is frustrating when you walk over to a (Republican) conference meeting and you read online what the speaker's going to say and do. And that's the first time you've heard about it, and then 30 minutes later the speaker actually says it," Chaffetz said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday.
    If elected speaker, Chaffetz said he would let some bills fail on the House floor because "we shouldn't have everything pre-baked."
    Rank-and-file conservatives in Congress have been angered at Republicans' inability to put a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on President Barack Obama's desk and the perception that their government shutdown battles have failed.
    "I'm not trying to shut down the government," Chaffetz said. "I'm trying to lead the charge to get a bill that goes the Senate and gets to the President's desk. That's what we're supposed to do, and yet we always seems to wait until about two hours before the deadline and then cave. That's not right."
    There has long been internal strife in the House Republican Conference under Speaker John Boehner. Boehner's announcement that he would resign his seat at the end of the month set off an internal leadership shakeup, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California is still viewed as the front-runner for the top job.
    Webster said Monday he would attempt to give more power to rank-and-file House members if they pick him to be their new leader.
    "The American people are saying they're not comfortable with the way the House runs. That's why our numbers are around 11-12% in approval," Webster told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."
    Webster cited his experience running the Florida state House of Representatives when he was a state lawmaker as evidence of his ability to delegate power. He said Monday he would "push down that pyramid of power" that exists now in the U.S. House.
    Webster declined to hit McCarthy Monday, for his comment last week that the special Benghazi House panel had succeeded in undermining Hillary Clinton. But Webster did say he wouldn't have made that comment himself.