Speaker John A. Boehner should lose his gavel if he pursues immigration this year, a prominent tea party Republican said in an interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday.
“I think it should cost him his speakership,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho warned, if Boehner puts an immigration overhaul on the floor.
But even if Boehner shelves immigration, Labrador said, the party needs new leadership — and the two-term lawmaker is not ruling out a run for leadership himself.
“There is a hunger in the conference for bold, visionary leaders, and this is not just conservatives — you talk to more middle-of-the-road members of the conference, they’re kind of frustrated with the direction of this leadership, and they’re looking for ways to change that,” he said.
Labrador, who was part of a failed coup attempt in 2013, has made a name for himself inside and outside the Republican Conference by pushing Boehner and other Republican leaders to embrace a new brand of conservatism.
“I think you’re going to see some changes here in the House over the next year,” he said. “I think that this is an opportunity for whoever wants to run for leadership to show that they have a clear vision for America.”
Labrador said the new GOP leadership in the 114th Congress could include members currently in leadership, particularly Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, with whom Labrador has a strong working relationship.0