- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

Two of the men in the race for House majority leader are calling for a joint appearance with all three candidates as a way to force a debate on reforms.

Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio and Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona said acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri has ducked two different chances for all three to appear together on Sunday talk shows — last weekend’s “Fox News Sunday” program, on which the three appeared separately, and this weekend’s “Meet the Press.”

“It’s unfortunate that at a time when House Republicans are having a serious conversation about our future, the candidate who claims to be the front-runner has so far refused to engage in a debate about how we will reform the House and change the status quo,” Mr. Boehner and Mr. Shadegg said in a joint statement.

But Mr. Blunt sent out a joint statement from some of the members supporting his bid and defending his decision.

“Roy is taking the right approach — having serious conversations directly with his colleagues, not television hosts,” the nine Republicans said. “There will be plenty of time for lengthy interviews when this race is over.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Shadegg picked up the endorsement of Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the conservative caucus in the House.

“John Shadegg is a son of the Republican revolution, a member of the fabled class of 1994, and a leader who has never lost his zeal for reform,” Mr. Pence said in a letter to fellow conservatives.

He said he had hoped to hold off on his endorsement until later, but so many members already were making commitments that he felt now was the time.

For his part, Mr. Boehner said the Pence endorsement, even though it was for another candidate, “is further evidence that a majority of our conference wants a change in the status quo. As I said days ago when John Shadegg entered the race — between the two of us, we’re going to make this a race about reform.”

Yesterday, Mr. Boehner also submitted answers to a series of questions that the RSC asked all of the leader candidates earlier this month. He committed to scheduling votes on pro-life amendments, more transparency in the earmark process and to blocking a floor vote on a bill that would try to expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

In his 14-page reply, Mr. Boehner also committed to holding a floor vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman and a bill that would require women seeking abortions to be told about the extent of fetal pain.

He promised to support conservatives to be committee chairmen, said he will fight to have an official vote whenever the debt limit needs to be raised, will try to make budget reconciliation happen every two years and called for Congress to rewrite the budget process to make it easier to limit spending and more difficult to raise it.

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