The top two House Republicans on Tuesday told incoming freshmen their class would have two elected leadership positions and three spots on the Steering Committee, giving the newly elected group an unprecedented number of seats at the GOP leadership table.
House Republican aides confirmed that presumptive Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and soon-to-be Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) made the announcement to the large freshmen class during a meeting at the Capitol Hill Club.
“Taking office in January will be a new House majority with more than 80 new members, eager to get to work and do the will of the people by cutting spending and lifting the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the private sector so that small business people can create jobs again,” Boehner, Cantor and incoming Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said in a joint statement. “After several days of dialogue with our new colleagues and an assessment of the objectives the new majority will pursue in the next Congress on behalf of the American people, we have determined that the incoming House GOP freshman class should have two elected representatives at the leadership table and three representatives on the Republican Steering Committee in the 112th Congress.”
The leaders announced last week they had decided to add two freshman spots on the Steering Committee and one elected leadership position but reconsidered after the freshman class pushed for more representation given its size.
“I think there is very much an effort not to just make a token recognition, but a serious, legitimate position for freshman” in the House, one Republican aide said, noting that they constitute a third of the GOP Conference.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.