GOP term limits will force Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (Fla.) to relinquish the gavel after this term. While Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is the presumptive choice to take Mica’s post, LaTourette is said to have had his eye on the role, too. LaTourette had been a senior Republican on the committee until 2009, when he joined the Appropriations Committee after the elections with then-Minority Leader Boehner’s strong encouragement. Others said he could have coveted a spot as an Appropriations cardinal.
LaTourette strongly denied the claim, saying the assertion that he is “leaving in a huff” after being denied a committee chairmanship is a “red herring.”
In an internal email to his staff, LaTourette chief of Staff Dino DiSanto echoed the denial, writing, “there is no truth to media reports or rumors that Steve is departing b/c of a fight with the leadership over committee assignments or any other disagreement.”
LaTourette also insisted his relationship with the Speaker is not damaged.
“John Boehner’s my friend. I have his support, he has mine. It’s been that way for 18 years, and it will continue long after today,” LaTourette said, adding that the Speaker, among others, asked him to reconsider.
Boehner issued a statement calling LaTourette “a close friend and an effective legislator who has served the people of Ohio with passion and unrivaled wit for nearly 20 years.”
LaTourette’s final off-the-cuff remarks at Tuesday’s press conference hinted at a frustration deeper than partisanship.
“The expectation is if you want to go up the ranks in either party, you’ve got to give them your wallet and your voting card,” he said. “The overwhelming criticism of me over the years is that sometimes I vote funny, according to my party. And I’m not interested in giving them my wallet or my voting card.”