By Scott Wong – 10/05/15 12:26 PM EDT
Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Monday said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “flat-out wrong” for pledging that there would be no government shutdowns under his watch.
The Utah Republican said the conservative base is frustrated with GOP leaders in Washington for not taking a tougher stand against things such as ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood funding.
“No, no. He’s absolutely flat-out wrong,” Chaffetz told reporters on Monday when asked if he would make the same no-shutdown promise as McConnell. “If he wants to say that for his body great. I’m not giving up on anything there.
“We told them if we get the House, we can play defense on the Obama administration. If we get the Senate, we can play offense. And they haven’t seen those bills get to the president’s desk,” Chaffetz continued.
“I’m frustrated, and I am not going to lose any negotiating power and admit defeat before we’ve even started.”
Chaffetz is running for the House Speaker nomination against Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the heavy favorite. Long-shot candidate Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) is also in the race.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is resigning on Oct. 30.
Chaffetz conceded McCarthy has more than enough votes to win the nomination for Speaker in a closed-door meeting set for Thursday. But Chaffetz said McCarthy was short of the 218 votes needed to formally be elected Speaker on the House floor. Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is offering himself as an alternative candidate who can bridge the divide between centrists and conservatives.