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Jan. 29, 2023

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Herrera Beutler: No interest in speaker job

Congresswoman: leadership post a no-win situation

By , Columbian Political Writer
Published:
3 Photos
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, speaks at a community coffee, with constituents her office invited to attend, in Vancouver on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, speaks at a community coffee, with constituents her office invited to attend, in Vancouver on Wednesday. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The number of Republican lawmakers interested in the House Speaker position appears to be growing daily, but the congresswoman from Southwest Washington has no intentions of joining the frenzy.

“I would never take that job for anything,” U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, said in Vancouver on Wednesday.

The surprising announcement that Speaker John Boehner was stepping down — and later, news that Rep. Kevin McCarthy was bowing out of the race — has set off a leadership free-for-all in the House. The number of candidates interested in the job is nearing double digits, according to a recent report from the Associated Press.

Republican party leaders have been vocal about the pressure they are putting on Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, who is reportedly considering the position but has said publicly he doesn’t want the job.

“Right now what you’re seeing is anyone that is smart enough or good enough to do the job doesn’t want it — and there’s a reason for that,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m not kidding, that’s the truth, the God’s honest truth. Paul Ryan doesn’t want it, and he doesn’t want it because it’s a no-win situation right now.”

Herrera Beutler was in town while Congress is on a recess. She spoke to about two dozen people during one of her “community coffees,” where her office calls people nearby and invites them to attend the event.

“Whoever the next speaker is — I mean, I don’t even know if Jesus could handle this group at this point, and I have high respect for my Lord,” Herrera Beutler said. “He has given everyone free will and that’s what we see happening.”

Herrera Beutler said the debacle is embarrassing for the GOP.

“I’ll vote for the most conservative man or woman … who is dedicated to governing and to seeing the House restored to regular order,” the congresswoman said.

‘Slow-moving machine’

The community coffee covered a wide range of topics, from the inheritance tax to Obamacare, both of which Herrera Beutler said should be repealed.

The congresswoman said her office continues to hear from an overwhelming number of veterans who continue to face challenges, including long wait times, before receiving medical attention.

Several of the community members who attended expressed frustration at the partisan gridlock that continues to define politics in Washington, D.C.

Herrera Beutler said she agreed, but noted Congress was created to be a “slow-moving machine on purpose.”

“I understand people are frustrated. I’m giving the best years of my life to travel back and forth to that place, not because I think it’s cool or I want the title. … But it’s because I believe this country is worth fighting for,” Herrera Beutler said.

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Columbian Political Writer