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House Republican moderates, finding themselves a minority in the new House majority, are not planning to dig in their heels to try to drag the Conference to the center over the next two years.
But they are hoping to build coalitions that can shape policy.
“I don’t expect our stance on issues is going to differ much from the Conference,” said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.), co-chairwoman of the centrist Tuesday Group. “I think it’s all going to depend. We’re just so early in the process.”
The 43-member Tuesday Group has met twice so far this Congress and has no plans to come up with an agenda of its own. In many ways, the moderate lawmakers said, they are still trying to figure out how they will fit in with the new House majority.
One thing seems evident, however. The Tuesday Group won’t take a cue from its Democratic equivalent, the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, which spent much of the past two years objecting to its Democratic leadership’s top priorities and pushing the agenda to the middle. Tuesday Group members say they prefer to make changes on the margins and hope to serve as a balance to newly elected conservative tea party Members.
Emerson noted that the group benefits from counting as one of its members Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), a close ally to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) who led the GOP transition. Emerson said Walden serves as a liaison between the Tuesday Group and the leadership.
“I think that we are interested in talking with anybody about anything,” Emerson said. “And I think it’s too early to make any blanket statements.”
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said his boss is “in constant communications with all Members.”
Former Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), who leads the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership, gave House GOP leaders high marks for their outreach to their moderate flank, saying they “know what they’re doing in terms of building coalitions.”
“We have no complaints with leadership at this point in terms of where they are going,” Davis told reporters at an event last week. “Main Streeters and moderates are not asking for control. We’re just asking to be part of the team, part of the coalition.”