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Mr. Lewis did back the minority leader’s pledge this year for a one-year earmark moratorium by House Republicans. Lewis backers say the Californian’s support was crucial to persuading several reluctant members of the House Republican Conference to agree to the ban.
“There has been some chatter in conservative publications that Mr. Lewis is a champion of earmarks, but frankly that is not true,” said the Republican aide.
Mr. Lewis also helped raise about $1 million for House Republican re-election efforts since last year, the aide said, which could sway the House Steering Committee’s decision.
Still, some on Capitol Hill say that Mr. Lewis agreed to the moratorium only because it was temporary and that he will return to supporting the earmark process once the temporary ban is lifted.
Party leaders have agreed to waivers in the past, but Mr. Boehner and the other House Steering Committee members understand that such a move can upset the delicate seniority and damage party unity.
“I just know how tough that is because, if you’re wanting to waive it, you’ve got a lot junior members who want to move up the political food chain,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s an insiders’ knife fight.”
While the ranking Republicans on most other House panels presumably will be elevated to chairman should the party take control of the House, speculation persists that up to three Republicans are plotting to oust Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama as their party’s leader on the House Financial Services Committee.
Some Republicans privately have expressed concern that Mr. Bachus hasn’t stood up enough to the aggressive Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who has served as chairman of the panel since 2007.
Mr. Bachus’ tenure on the panel may hinge on how Mr. Boehner and the House Republican leadership plan to deal with the Democrats’ legislative legacy of the past two years. If Mr. Boehner and other party leaders are content with only tweaking or even moving past such financial measures as the sweeping Wall Street reform law, then the Alabama lawmaker may stay.
But if Mr. Boehner and his membership push to repeal these and other Democratic financial laws, then Mr. Bachus may be replaced with someone deemed more aggressive.
Rep. Ed Royce of California, a senior member of the committee, frequently has been mentioned as a replacement for Mr. Bachus. Others include Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Scott Garrett of New Jersey.
None of the would-be Bachus challengers publicly has expressed interest in the chairmanship, with aides reluctant even to speak off the record for fear of appearing too eager and presumptuous.
Rumors about Mr. Bachus’ potential ouster, however, have been more subdued in recent weeks. Speaking to reporters after a speech last month, the lawmaker from Alabama lawmaker insisted that he enjoys the support of top Republicans, including Mr. Boehner.
“There’s no question from anybody in leadership. … I’m going to have [Mr. Boehner’s] support,” CQ Politics News quoted him as saying.
Mr. Bachus also may have scored political points with the minority leader by raising more than $900,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee — House Republicans’ fundraising arm — according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.
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About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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