Rep. Jason Chaffetz: 'We've Got to Change Things, We Need a Fresh Start'

The Utah Republican congressman is interviewed on "This Week."
6:33 | 10/11/15

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Transcript for Rep. Jason Chaffetz: 'We've Got to Change Things, We Need a Fresh Start'
Joining us now, Jason Chaffetz. Republican of Utah. Chair of the house oversight committee. And a kantd for house speaker. Good morning. You have heard the descriptions of what happened this week. Total confusion. A banana republic. Turmoil. Crisis. Chris Christie comparing this to "Game of thrones." And "The Washington post" Karen Tumulty saying this -- less than a year after a sweeping electoral triumph, republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as national political party. Mr. Chairman, how do you think Americans should see this? Well, that was a little dramatic. We have passed out of the house roughly 200 bills that are sitting over in the U.S. Senate. A lot of our frustration is with the senate. With the president. We have to change things. We need a fresh start. We have a gulf and a divide that needs to be bridged. We need a speaker who takes the communications realm and drives the discussion in the country about what it is we're standing for and what it is we're trying to do. And so we're going through the exercise. Because speaker Boehner stepped down. The majority leader decided we do need a fresh face. That's in part why I put my name in for the spot. You may be a fresh face. Do you really think you can bridge this enormous divide? Somebody's got to do it. I hope that Paul Ryan would do it. He's said repeatedly he won't. I do think there are people that are better qualified. But I do think I bridge that gap. That's the case I'm making. If there's somebody better who can unite us, I will support them. You're part of the solution or part of the problem. Right or wrong, I have thrown myself in there and said, I think do this. Let me tell you what congressman Darryl Issa has said. He says you have changed. You have taken a break fro the breaking details. Epor after ahe S tg nntuin decision by house majority leader Kevin Mccarthy to bow out of the race fospear Ker. Hi I tnk I shocked some of you, huh? Reporter: Republicans are now looking for someone, anyone, to lead them. Why would anyone want to be speaker at this point? That is the $64,000 question. Orteep manr:heiny G top practically begging Paul Ryan to take the job. I did everything but carry his gym bag this morning, trying to get him to do it. Reporter: The man who would be king insists he doesn't want the wroun. But republicans hoping he will have a change of heart. One Ryan confidant tells ABC, that seems to be happening. He puts the odds at 60%. For a rty paown knfor taking who is next in line, this week's one of the things people love is he puts his family first. He's got young kids. He'll have to make that decision. I think he would be a wonderful speaker. Just like I thought he would be a great vice president or president. Again, more signs of chaos this morning, however. On Twitter, Joe miller, the tea partier who beat Lisa murkowski saying Paul Ryan is the absolute worst choice for speaker. It would be putting the prettiest face on the ugliest policies. And the 40-house freedom caucus members, those hard-line conservatives, saying they're still supporting Daniel Webster. Well, that's why we have these discussions. Why we need an election. It's partly why I put myself out there. We'll see what happens. What kind of compromises would you or a Paul Ryan have to make with those real hardliners? Well, I think from the broad political spectrum, not just the freedom caucus, there is a need for internal reform. How we bring bills up. Getting back to regular order. How we offer and don't offer amendments. Those types of things I think are frustrating to a lot of people. Bills need to move through committee. We need to look at the internal rules package itself. I don't think you have to cut a deal with anybody. There's no -- there's no deal that you have to cut. I think I've earned a reputation of being fair and that I'll hear all sides from the entire political spectrum. And really, the role of the speaker is to be the constitutional officer that is making sure that the process is fair, it's balanced. We protect minority rights. We allow the good deals and ideas to percolate from the bottom up, not the top down, where the speaker is telling the body what to do. I think the speaker works for the conference. I want to go back to the beginning. You said that was a very dramatic description. It was very dramatic this week. Americans do look at congress and say, what's going on? So whether you elect a speaker right away or not, what do you think the long-term effects of this will be on the hill and also on 2016? Look, the American people swept us into power because they wanted results. And we got to take that fight to the senate. We got to take that fight to the president. They haven't seen the results. Passing bills out of the house is one step. But we have to get those bills on to the president's desk. Because they don't like the current trajectory. To suggest it's all on the house republicans, it's wrong. When they talk about the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., they're also talking about president Obama and they're also talking about the United States senate. I want to ask you quickly about a report this morning, that a former staffer on the benghazi committee says he was fired from that committee because he was told to focus too much on Hillary Clinton instead of finding out answers about benghazi. Well, I can tell you. When benghazi was first going, I was on the ground in Tripoli. I was the first member of congress to be there. I've been there twice. I have spent a lot of time on benghazi. Trey Gowdy is running a first rate organization there. Very professional. The hearing coming up on October 22nd is absolutely going to be, I think, a first-classm holding government accountable. That doesn't sound like it would be easy to bridge any gaps. I don't think that is accurate. We've been very aggressive. People have seen me fighting everything from fast and furious to the irs on planned parenthood to a host of things. Benghazi and others. I've earned the reputation over 6 1/2 year. I have worked closely with my democratic allies. Elijah Cummings is a good friend. Have done over 200 letters

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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