November may hold strong gains for House Republicans, but GOP members appear to already be having on the side sniping over who could possibly hold various leadership positions should they win back the majority.
Rep. Thad McCotter, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, reportedly angered fellow Republicans back in early July, when he revealed his plan to abolish the entire committee as a cost saving measure to pay down the national debt.
Roll Call reported:
With all the talk of spending and cutting, this chance to lead by example, reform our own operations and return $360,000 to the Treasury for deficit reduction strikes me as exactly what the public wants us to start doing,” McCotter said. Taxpayer funds pay for Congressional leadership offices.
But according to McCotter, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) balked at the idea when Boehner brought it up during the daily leadership meeting Wednesday. McCarthy, Cantor and a spokesman for Boehner declined to comment Thursday night.
Following a speech for the Young Republican National Federation on Saturday evening, Mr. McCotter told me:
“It’s one of those things I proposed that Eric [Cantor] and John [Boehner] say we hope to consider in a larger context and with more reforms, because this won’t be the only proposal in how we operate. So we’re going to focus on getting the majority in the next conference and we’ll make determinations as to which reforms we adopt. There’s going to be a whole slew of them coming, because we know we can’t keep operating [this way]. Congress can’t keep operating this way.”
However, according to Politico, Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and House Minority Whip, wants to keep the policy committee alive, and a senior House Republican told Politico Mr. McCotter’s move is intended to keep out Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee, from having any chance at heading up the policy committee:
“Leadership serves at the pleasure of the conference, and our offices exist to support members’ legislative aims; thus, the decision to keep or abolish a leadership committee is one that must be made by the 178 members of the Republican Conference, not one or two members,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was among those who were surprised by the plan’s unveiling last week.
But Cantor is positioning himself as a champion of the Policy Committee that McCotter, a Boehner ally, wants to squash.
Rep. McCotter brushed off speculation that his intention is to muscle anybody out, telling me, “This has nothing to do with personalities, and those who think so ought to really go see their therapist,” he said. “It’s about how the House operates. The proposition is quite simple. What can the policy committee do that cannot be done more cheaply and effectively elsewhere? It’s a question we should be asking about every single facet of government.”
“So until they answer that question, that’s the proposition in front of us. The individuals don’t matter, there’s more than one individual running for it now, which I think is unfortunate. From my point of view, for those who say that we needed to show the differences between the parties, you ought to show Republicans have cut funding for political positions first. Democrats don’t,” Mr. McCotter stressed.