New 2nd District Congressman Josh Brecheen’s first act in the U.S. House of Representatives was to join the Republican bloc denying his party’s leader the speakership.
Brecheen voted for Indiana Rep. Jim Banks on the first ballot and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on Tuesday’s two subsequent votes. It was the first time in 100 years the majority party’s leader was not elected speaker on the first ballot.
Oklahoma’s other four members, all Republicans, voted for McCarthy on all three ballots.
“My message to Leader McCarthy has been — and continues to be — that to obtain my support for Speaker, transformative rule changes that stop out-of-control spending and address our debt loading must occur,” Brecheen said in a written statement after a third ballot failed to secure McCarthy the House’s top spot.
Brecheen’s early vote in the alphabetical roll call called to mind a similar one by former 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine 10 years earlier. Bridenstine cast the first Republican ballot against then-Speaker John Boehner, although that intraparty revolt failed to stop Boehner from being elected on the first ballot.
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In 1997, then-2nd District Congressman (and later U.S. Sen.) Tom Coburn was involved in an uprising against Speaker Newt Gingrich that contributed to Gingrich’s ultimate downfall.
Brecheen, an Antlers rancher and construction company owner, later worked for Coburn’s Senate office as a field representative.
“Though Leader McCarthy offered some positive rule changes to the House Freedom Caucus … they are not concrete reforms that will lead to a true change in our trajectory towards bankruptcy,” said Brecheen, who associated himself with the Freedom Caucus during his 2022 campaign.
“A person’s history is the greatest predictor of future behavior. Leader McCarthy’s past voting record supporting major spending bills as part of the Republican leadership for the past decade gives me pause. Without substantive rules changes that would guide Leader McCarthy on spending, I must vote as I have until we have a better deal for your children.”
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