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Khanna’s paper, which criticized current law on copyright holders and drew criticism from content providers such as the movie and music industries, was pulled almost as quickly as it was released. Some RSC members criticized the paper, and Scalise subsequently fired Khanna.
When Scalise was asked about his handling of the affair, his answer suggested that he wanted to ensure the RSC doesn’t get out too far ahead of its large and diverse membership.
“In general, if you look at where the RSC is going to go, if we’re going to be effective, it’s going to be the members of RSC that have to unite and fight for those principles that we believe in — and do it in a unified way,” Scalise said. “Because the next two years are going to be a challenge. We’re going to be swimming upstream on a number of different fronts.”
In his campaign to become RSC chairman, Scalise vowed to engage in a more cooperative style in his interactions with leadership, implicit criticism of Jordan’s tenure. The promises may have paid off in the form of last-minute calls on his behalf from Barry Jackson, a top aide to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, two sources said. Scalise said he knew nothing about the calls and didn’t speak to Jackson in the course of the campaign. Boehner’s office declined to comment.
In his personal interactions with members and aides, Scalise is warm and respectful, earning him plaudits. And many Republicans, even within the RSC, shed no tears over the punishment of the four lawmakers one GOP aide called “difficult to work with.”
But it’s fair to say Scalise’s action will be closely watched by the right. “I’ve talked to Steve and have encouraged him, as I think he will, and that is to stick to the principles — the conservative principles. If he does that, RSC will be fine,” Rep. Tom Price, a former RSC chairman, said recently.