- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2007

House Republicans have chosen leaders who aren’t afraid to attack Democrats to serve in key positions for the 110th Congress, suggesting that the civility on Capitol Hill may not last long.

Republicans say they have every intention of fighting tough to regain power.

For example, Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, beginning his second term, was recently named to serve as a member of the deputy Republican whip team, typically made up of more senior lawmakers. Considered one of the party’s up-and-comers, the 31-year-old is known for his frequent tongue-lashings aimed at Democrats.

“I will not hesitate to point out their hypocrisy and their unwillingness to live by their own campaign pledges,” said Mr. McHenry, the youngest member of Congress. “I’ll work to get our conservative ideas enacted into law and stop the bad things the Democrats want to do to our country.”

Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri held nothing back when he criticized Democrats for not allowing Republican amendments on their “first 100 hours” agenda. He said the new majority party members were being disingenuous when they promised bipartisan spirit.

“Unfortunately, so far, we don’t see much of that partnership,” Mr. Blunt said Tuesday. “It’s a sort of a check-is-in-the-mail approach to the things the American people have been told and what we’ve been told.”

The Republicans are also quick to note Democrats’ use of unfair tactics — such as not subjecting their opening legislative package to committee hearings — but did not acknowledge that they used the same strategy for years.

“It’s a shame that the agenda they campaigned on so publicly is being put together so secretly,” said Rep. Adam H. Putnam of Florida, chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Republicans say Mr. Putnam, 32, has fire in his belly and a hunger to return to the majority. And they say what Mr. McHenry lacks in age he makes up for in energy and bark.

“We will hold their feet to the fire, just as ours were,” Republican Conference Vice Chairman Kay Granger of Texas said of the Democrats. “Patrick will be a good messenger for that.”

As one of several deputy whips, Mr. McHenry will aid Mr. Blunt and Chief Deputy Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia in helping to track votes on legislation and pushing minority-party legislation.

As for this week, Republicans have adopted a refrain of complaint, saying the opening hours of the 110th Congress have been unfair and smack of political design.

It was “truly a shame” that Democrats turned the September 11 commission debate into a “partisan political tool,” lamented Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Rep. David Dreier of California had some fun as he managed the opposition time on the floor, calling Republicans the “struggling minority.”

“I’m loving my role here in the minority, Madame Speaker,” he said, later handing the floor to one of his colleagues.

“I yield to the former chairman and future chairman of the committee on appropriations,” Mr. Dreier said, hardly able to stifle a laugh as he introduced Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis, a fellow Californian.

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