Florida Republican calls for decentralizing power, empowering backbenchers
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida has announced he will run for House speaker to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner on a platform of decentralizing the GOP leadership’s control of the House agenda by pushing down “the pyramid of power.”
“What I want to see is a principle-based, member-driven Congress,” Webster said in a September 28 appearance on Fox News where he announced his candidacy. “We don’t have that now. I’d like to have us have it.”
“We can show ourselves as leaders by opening up the process, by allowing lots of debate and lots of amendments and lost of opportunities for members,” he said.
Webster, 66, from Winter Haven in Central Florida, is serving his third term in the House. Prior to his service in Congress, Webster served 28 years in the Florida legislature and was state House speaker from 1996 to 1998.
Webster is running to replace Speaker John Boehner, who announced September 25 that he was stepping down amid conflict within the Republican House conference between Boehner’s allies and conservative backbench critics.
Earlier this year, Webster ran against Boehner in an unsuccessful attempt to bounce him from the speaker’s chair. Afterward, Boehner removed Webster from the powerful House Rules Committee.
Conservative critics of Boehner have complained about attempts to punish members who defied the House GOP leadership.
Webster will face one of those leaders, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, in the race for speaker.