U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke softened his stance Tuesday on last week's prolonged battle of Speaker of the House, instead looking ahead to the new challenges facing the thin Republican majority.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," Zinke, a Montana Republican, said in a video interview with MTN News. "Of course, we had a debate nationally. I think a lot of people have watched it. A little bit of grandstanding and a little bit of fundraising but you know, I think the discussions needed to happen."
Zinke was a supporter of now House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, casting his vote for the California Republican in all 15 ballots held over four days. He originally had harsher words for the 20 conservative hardline holdouts blocking McCarthy, including fellow Montanan Matt Rosendale, stating during the votes they were holding Congress and the country hostage.
Now that the debate is over, Zinke noted he and Rosendale are on the same side of many issues.
"I do work with Matt, regardless of what's in the news," Zinke said. "Matt and I work together as we should because we represent a great state. And a lot of the issues on the east are just the same on the west."
MTN News reached out to Rosendale multiple times over the past week for comment. He did not agree to an interview, though he has spoken to other outlets.
For the first time in 30 years, Montana has two representatives— Zinke on the western side of the state, and Rosendale representing eastern Montana.
On Tuesday, Zinke spoke on the House floor at the start of the 118th Congress to establish a select subcommittee on weaponization of the federal government.
"We should trust our government by making our government trustworthy, and that's making sure they're transparent," Zinke said.
Zinke says since Democrats control the presidency and the Senate, Republicans will look at investigations and the "power of the purse," which he says has already been done by in a House vote this week to not fund 87,000 IRS agents.
"It's time to act in a bipartisan way and I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle," he said in the House while talking about trade with China.
"How about politicians actually did what they say they're going to do?" Zinke sad. "Wouldn't that be refreshing? So hopefully this will be a refreshing 118th Congress."