House Freedom Caucus 'would look favorably' on Paul Ryan, chair says

Story highlights

  • House Freedom Caucus chair Jim Jordan says the group 'would look favorably' on Paul Ryan for speaker
  • Jordan and Rep. Raul Labrador say Ryan would have to commit to procedural changes

Washington (CNN)The hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus "would look favorably" on Rep. Paul Ryan as a candidate for speaker, the group's chairman said Sunday.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who leads the 40-member group that was instrumental in thwarting House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's bid to ascend to speaker last week, underscored the caucus's endorsement of Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."
But he said Ryan, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman who has said he doesn't want to be Speaker but is said to be considering a move for the job after being pressured by national Republican leaders, could also earn his group's backing.
    "Paul Ryan is a good man who's a great communicator -- the kind of messenger our party needs. And certainly if he gets in the race, I think our group would look favorably on him," Jordan said.
    But, he added: "We're much more concerned about reforming the institution. This is not just about who the next speaker is; it's about what's going to change the business-as-usual attitude around there. Changing that is foremost on our minds, and that's what we're focused on."
    Those changes, he said, include decentralizing power -- letting rank-and-file members have more say over who is assigned to which committees, regardless of the political will of GOP leaders, and which bills advance to the House floor.
    "I think the next speaker has to be committed to that. I think Paul would be. I know Daniel Webster is," Jordan said.
    Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican who is among the House's most conservative members, said that Ryan is "a friend. He's been very good to me the last five years that I've been in Congress."
    But he offered a similar take to Jordan -- that to earn the group's support, Ryan would have to commit to changes in the approach of House leadership.
    "Until somebody's a declared candidate, we're not going to move to a new candidate. Now, if new candidates declare themselves, then we're going to ask them to come talk to the House Freedom Caucus. Because it's not about the who, it's the what," he said.