As Boehner retires, Roskam wins support for look at party's future
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam says he has enough support to call a meeting among fellow House Republicans to talk about the future of the party in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner's retirement announcement Friday.
The Wheaton Republican sent a letter to his colleagues early Saturday morning requesting the meeting and said by the end of the day he had secured signatures from the more than 20 percent of House Republicans needed to call it.
"It is not every day a sitting speaker of the House of Representatives steps down because of divisions within a deeply conflicted Republican majority. That unusual development alone should give us all great pause," the letter reads.
Without a deeper discussion, "we won't heal the fractures in a conference that has thus far proved unleadable," he wrote. "In fact, we will find ourselves right back where we are now -- stymied by dysfunction and disunity. … In short, we need a plan, not a person."
Roskam was a member of the House Republican leadership team before losing a race to move up to the No. 3 spot last year. Boehner's move out of Congress has given a lot of members a chance to move up, including possibly Roskam.
The letter makes a point possibly aimed at the early leadership favorites that he tried to emphasize just after Boehner's announcement, saying "simply reshuffling the deck won't serve our members."
After Roskam tried to move up last year, he said the loss came largely for geographic reasons. He's a Republican from a Democratic-leaning Illinois. But Saturday, he sought to publicly downplay his own future in calling for the meeting, saying he's not announcing a run for leadership at the moment.
"This is not about me," he said. "This is about understanding the importance of this historic moment -- the resignation of a speaker due to internal party divisions -- and making sure we empower our conference and leaders to fix the mistakes that got us here."