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McCarthy Searching for Rules Committee Chair

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By Sean Brown, December 7, 2018 4:21 pm

GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Tulare) is off to a steadfast but difficult start as he races to find the appropriate representative to chair the highly influential House Rules Committee.

Functioning to guide and mandate how various pieces of legislation are considered when they go to the floor, chair of the committee is an extremely prestigious positon and McCarthy must be wise to appoint someone with a plethora of knowledge on the subject.

Republicans certainly took a heavy hit during the midterms where they lost almost 40 seats. Moreover, they suffered significant losses to some unexpected newcomers. Among one of the most surprising veterans to go was Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) who has previously chaired the committee for several years.

With his absence, Tom Cole (R-OK) is the next highest ranking member, however, The Hill notes “there is chatter McCarthy has been trying to convince Cole to take the job, but the Oklahoman is reluctant because of his role as the top Republican on an Appropriations subcommittee that controls tens of billions of dollars in funding. He likely cannot have both jobs on two top panels, known in the Capitol as “A” committees.”

While it is not likely, nor ideal, for McCarthy to tap someone from outside the committee who lacks as much experience, his options are growing slim. He is also racing against the clock as the Republican’s share of the committee’s party representation will undoubtedly be dramatically reduced starting in January when Democrats will re-gain the majority.

So who does that leave?

To give an example of the situation, Republican Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) was just voted to serve as the ranking member of the judiciary Committee, Liz Cheney (R-WY) is transitioning to McCarthy’s leadership team, Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is touting a Senate run for a special election in his state.

Still there are more members on the committee, but the theme stays consistent. They are either moving on to other positions, or leaving Congress.

Although McCarthy has until January 3rd, his options are running out.

Sean Brown

Before becoming a writer for the California Globe, Sean served as a Legislative Director in the New York City Council and is an NYU alumnus.
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