WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, a leading House conservative, said on Sunday that fellow conservatives are not discussing replacing Speaker Paul Ryan despite unhappiness with the way Republican leaders handled last week’s debt ceiling increase that included no fiscal reforms.
Many Republicans are unhappy with the deal President Donald Trump reached last week with Democratic leaders to raise the government’s debt ceiling and allow it to continue financing federal spending programs until Dec. 8.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Jordan, a Republican, appeared to cast blame for the debt ceiling hike on party leaders including Ryan, saying they had not provided any “good options” to Trump before he struck a deal with Democrats.
“In this situation, he (Trump) wasn’t presented with good options,” said Jordan, co-founder and former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative group in the House.
“No one is talking about changing the leadership,” Jordan told Fox. He said a Washington Post story last week that reported that conservatives had met with Ryan to express their dismay about the debt ceiling increase was “hardly news,” because the lawmakers meet with Ryan every week.
Rebellious conservatives pushed out Republican John Boehner, Ryan’s predecessor, as speaker in 2015.
The new plan also authorized spending $15.25 billion in emergency disaster relief for the victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Ninety House Republicans, including many members of the Freedom Caucus, voted against the measure, which Trump has now signed into law.
Conservatives have long called for coupling spending reforms with any measures that raise the U.S. debt ceiling. But the deal did the opposite, raising the ceiling and paying for hurricane relief without spending cuts elsewhere.
Republican leaders had urged an 18-month extension of the debt ceiling, but Trump accepted the three-month extension proposed by Democrats.
Jordan said he believed Trump has the same vision and focus as the Freedom Caucus, which was to represent people who felt they had been forgotten by officials in Washington. If conservative options are presented to the president, “I‘m confident when that happens, he will pick those options that are conservative,” Jordan said.
Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe