Report: Boehner mulling delay in vote for party whip, majority leader

Speaker John Boehner is considering the postponement of GOP leadership elections for majority leader and whip, according to a report that appeared in Politico over the weekend.

The election for speaker of the House will be held as planned during the leadership elections, scheduled for Thursday's party conference.

The Hill:

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) circulated a letter to House colleagues requesting a stay on the second- and third-ranking elections, Politico reported, which would make the Speaker election the only vote on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting.

Boehner has reportedly not yet agreed to postpone the elections, but said he would consult with GOP leadership on Monday and Tuesday.

“All leadership elections remain on Thursday,” Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the Speaker, told Politico.

Republicans are also considering adopting new party rules that would force candidates to resign from their chairmanships and leadership positions before seeking new office.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the favorite to succeed Boehner as Speaker, but a misstep linking the Benghazi select committee to Hillary Clinton’s declining poll numbers, suggesting a partisan motivation for the investigation, has left him vulnerable.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the Oversight Committee, announced on Sunday he would challenge McCarthy for the House’s top job.

A floor vote to select the next Speaker is still expected to take place at the end of October.

What gives? Politco hints that some Republicans want more choices for those two positions:

Republican Conference, and delaying the elections might give more time for the mood to settle, according to sources involved in the planning.

But the move would also give the right wing of the conference more time to find a candidate to run against Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and Georgia Rep. Tom Price.

"There is a broad interest in discussing rule changes before we discuss leadership changes," Mulvaney told POLITICO. "Conservatives and centrists alike are interested in changing the structure of the way the conference is run and the way the House is operated. If we move immediately into leadership elections, we may not have time to have the debate."

Scalise says he already has a majority of the caucus supporting his bid for majority leader, while Price has the inside track on the whip post.  But there is already grumblng on the right that several conservative favorites haven't had time to organize their bids and have dropped out of consideration because of that. 

The rules changes would benefit outsiders and challengers, who would be on a more equal footing with establishment candidates who are already serving in a leadership position and want to move up.  Also, conservatives want changes to the rules so they have more input into what bills reach the floor, and especially in what amendments can be debated and for how long.

The delay would probably be less than two weeks, as Boehner wants to schedule a vote on a new speaker by the end of the month.

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