- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2022

House GOP lawmakers interested in taking the helm of the Republican Study Committee in November have begun seeking support of their fellow members of the largest conservative faction in Congress.

Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma announced his bid to lead the RSC on Wednesday.

“I’m in! Today, I announced to my colleagues that I’m running to lead the largest caucus in Congress,” he tweeted. “When we take back the House this fall, we’re going to need common-sense, conservative policies driving our legislative agenda - and RSC will be leading the way!”

Mr. Hern, a second-term lawmaker who serves on the House Ways & Means Committee, told reporters he considers the RSC a group that can do and say things that many members would like to do but can’t, because of political reasons.

He helped RSC Chairman Jim Banks of Indiana win his post, and served as the committee’s budget chair. He and 10 colleagues focused on producing a balanced budget proposal.

Other Republicans are likely to throw their hats in the ring for RSC chair, including Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida, according to Mr. Banks.

“We have a very strong competition between Cat Cammack and Kevin Hern. I’m not taking sides. Both of them would be great RSC chairs and are working hard to go out there and seek the support of RSC members to make them the next chair,” Mr. Banks told The Washington Times.

He said, “All of the issues that the RSC has always been focused on, the three-legged stool of conservatism, and marrying that with the Trump issues, we planted the flag there on the very first day of the term. The party is unified and coalesced around that agenda.”

Mr. Banks, who is currently term-limited from running again for RSC chair, is keeping his own options open for other leadership posts in the next Congress with Republicans poised to capture the majority.  

“I’ll be a part of the executive committee as a former chairman of RSC, so I’ll still be very involved in the leadership of RSC, and if there’s a role for me to step in to do more for our conference, then I’m certainly keeping those doors open,” he said. “I’m not focusing on what that is, but I’d rather do my part to help us get the majority and lay the groundwork for what we’re going to do when we get in.”

The RSC is a caucus of 172 conservative House Republican members that pushes for significant cuts in nondefense spending, leads efforts to pass free trade agreements, advocates socially conservative legislation and supports pro-Second Amendment-related bills. It has proposed an alternative budget every year since 1995.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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