Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, officially announced his bid to become the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Sunday on "Fox News Sunday," after Rep. John Boehner resigned from the position in September following continuing talk of a government shutdown over funding Planned Parenthood. Chaffetz will go up against Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House majority leader, who is Boehner's presumed successor.
“The American people have entrusted Republicans with the largest majority since the 1920s, but with that majority comes a responsibility to get the job done that we were elected to do," said Chaffetz, in his official announcement posted to his website.
McCarthy as House majority leader is favored over Chaffetz, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, though Republicans have continued to question McCarthy's ability to lead and unite a fracturing GOP. Chaffetz criticized McCarthy's lack of support among fellow congressmen in an interview with Politico, saying he was unsure McCarthy would be able to garner votes from both moderate and hard-core conservatives.
In a tweet posted to his verified account, Chaffetz said that the U.S. people wanted a "fresh start" to move forward an often dysfunctional Congress.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) October 4, 2015
Both Chaffetz and McCarthy are relatively young representatives, with Chaffetz elected in 2008 and McCarthy in 2006. In the nearly seven years he has been in office, Chaffetz has built much of his legacy as a congressman around his voting record and immigration-related legislation.
The Republican representative has introduced, voted for and successfully gotten passed several pieces of immigration reform, and he has continued to look for more dynamic ways to revise the system. "I have long believed that solving illegal immigration starts with fixing legal immigration," wrote Chaffetz in a statement made earlier this year. "Our immigration system is completely broken and in desperate need of reform."
The new House speaker will be chosen during a closed vote Thursday.