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Reps. Dave Brat, R-Va., and Charlie Dent, R-Pa., may sit on the same side of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives, but when it comes to the challenges facing today’s Republican party, they couldn’t be further apart.
The congressmen appeared together on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” where they had a candid discussion about the differences between the dueling wings of the party.
Brat belongs to the GOP’s Freedom Caucus and came to prominence after defeating then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary election, while Dent is a moderate Republican who hails from a Pennsylvania swing district.
Brat has introduced 10 commitments he wants any candidate for Speaker of the House to agree to, but pushed back against charges he was holding the caucus “hostage” and that his wing of the party was hurting the GOP’s 2016 chances.
Brat charged that Dent “wants to kick us out of our conference for voting our conscience” -- which Dent denied. But he doubled down on his criticism of Brat’s wing, saying it’s time to “marginalize” members “who don’t want to govern.” He continued, “we have to get our act together.”
The two also couldn't come to an agreement on the person who is considered the consensus pick for Speaker of the House, Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. Even though Ryan has said he does not want to be Speaker, Dent said he would support Ryan in the powerful role. Brat did not completely rule out the idea of the more conservative wing of the GOP sporting Ryan. However, for him it would be dependent on if Ryan would uphold policies and practices like advocating for an Obamacare replacement and broadening "opportunities to offer amendments and legislation on the House floor with full debate."
Dent further defended moderate Republicans joining with Democrats to force a vote to reopen the controversial Export-Import Bank. “Some of us, the governing wing, want to use the process to advance good legislation. Others want to use the process to obstruct us from considering good legislation,” Dent said.