FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas presided over a historic decision he opposed, ousting speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“Are we better off today having done what we did yesterday? And I think the honest answer is probably not,” Womack said.
While the House lacks a Speaker, Womack says work is stalled on important bills.
Bills that could keep the government open past November, provide support for Ukraine and address border security which he describes as a missed opportunity for Republicans.
“I think there could have been some victories out there because I think it’s a winning message for us,” Womack said. “But instead, we kind of muddled the message, and we were all over the map on discretionary numbers. And, we made the fights about discretionary spending. And so, I think simplifying our message is going to be very important.”
Womack says finding that message, unifying around it and avoiding future drama is how the Republican conference needs to move forward.
“Let’s pick a speaker and let’s get back to work because nothing can happen until that happens,” Womack said.
“The main question is who steps up to fill that gap, and who satisfies all these disparate wings of Republicans?” said John Brown University political science professor Daniel Bennett.
Bennett acknowledges it’s going to be challenging for the Republicans to nominate a unifying leader.
“It’s not going to be the Mat Gatezs. It’s not going to be the Marjorie Taylor Greenes. These are the people who are on social media, and they’re the ones who make the viral comments. That doesn’t make for a good speaker,” Bennett said.
Womack says he’s supporting House majority leader Steve Scalise for the Speaker role, overseeing a Republican conference Womack himself called “ungovernable.”