[WASHINGTON] US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he's running to replace Speaker John Boehner, a position the five-term California congressman appears prepared to easily win.
Passing a six-year highway funding bill that changes the U.S. tax structure will be a top priority, Mr McCarthy said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "If we pass a highway bill with tax reform at the same time, that's policy," McCarthy said.
Mr Boehner's surprise announcement on Friday that he'll resign from Congress at the end of October followed years of conflict with conservative members of his Republican caucus. They threatened to shut down the government this week if Planned Parenthood, the women's health provider whose services include abortion, isn't defunded.
Mr McCarthy is likely to win an election to replace Mr Boehner, said House Republicans Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina and Tom Cole of Oklahoma on "Fox News Sunday."
If he becomes speaker, Mr McCarthy would immediately face difficult issues on which members of his party are divided. They include raising the US debt limit, increasing spending on highways and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, all of which are opposed by conservative lawmakers.
He apparently won't have to deal with a government shutdown when current funding ends Wednesday night. Mr Boehner said on Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the House will pass a Senate spending bill, with the help of votes from Democrats, to keep the government operating without defunding Planned Parenthood.
Mr Boehner also suggested on "Face the Nation" that he will seek to push through other top corporate priorities before departing at the end of October. "I don't want to leave my successor a dirty barn," he said on the program.