pete-sessions

GOP Moves Forward With Sweeping Steering Panel Changes

Ryan is ready to see his own influence diluted on the Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are moving forward with an ambitious and far-reaching plan to overhaul the membership and operation of the Steering Committee, with a vote expected Thursday.  

It's only the first in a series of changes to GOP operations that Paul D. Ryan promised upon his election as speaker. Under a proposal formally unveiled to members at their weekly meeting Tuesday morning, some adjustments would be made this year to the Steering Committee, which assigns lawmakers to the standing panels of the House.  

Key Chairmen Could Be Booted From Steering Committee

Ryan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every committee chairperson could soon have a voice in who gets appointed to his or her panel, according to a proposal to revamp the Steering Committee that's being mulled by Speaker Paul D. Ryan and a seven-member task force.  

But there's a catch: The six chairmen who already have permanent seats on the Steering Committee would have to step aside. The goal is to create a more inclusive culture in the House Republican Conference that Ryan, R-Wis., has promised to promote.  

While Waiting for Ryan, Would-Be Speakers Weigh Bids

Almost everyone is awaiting Ryan's decision. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

If Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan decides against a run for speaker, the race to lead the House could turn into a free-for-all: A half-dozen Republicans are quietly testing the water for runs of their own, including a slew of Texans, a couple of the wealthiest men in Congress and at least one woman.  

Two Texas Republicans have confirmed they're getting into the game: Reps. Bill Flores and Michael McCaul, who is No. 2 on Roll Call's 2014 list of the wealthiest members of Congress . Flores, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, sent a letter to colleagues this weekend announcing his intention to seek the speakership, while McCaul, the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, is "very strongly considering running," according to a source familiar with his plans.  

House GOP Regroups, Still With No Endgame in Sight

Ryan leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans described the mood as "good" inside the closed-door members' meeting Friday morning — despite the fact that less than 24 hours earlier, lawmakers were reportedly in tears over the news that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was withdrawing from the race for speaker.  

"Heh heh!" Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, trilled when asked whether he thought the uncertainty over the leadership vacuum in conference would be resolved by close of business Friday, when the House adjourns for a weeklong recess. After a day of chaos, there was reassurance that Speaker John A. Boehner had pledged to maintain his hold on the gavel for as long as it takes for members to select a successor.  

After McCarthy's Stunner, Republicans Who Could Be Speaker (Video)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:26 p.m. Rep. Kevin McCarthy's stunning decision to withdraw his name from the race for the speaker's gavel has set off chaos in the Republican conference, with all sorts of names being floated of people who could potentially be the next speaker. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has announced his plans to stick around until his successor is elected, and that's what will happen for now: Boehner would only have to win a vote to vacate the chair if conservatives pressed one. Otherwise, he can stay for the duration.  

Here are the people who just might have the ambition for the job, although at this point, almost anybody could get a mention as chaos reigns:  

Republicans Eye Rules Changes as Possible Conference Unifier

Messer co-hosted a meeting to discuss possible House GOP rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina wants leadership candidates to confess to their "misdeeds" before they can be elected by their peers. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky wants to dilute the speaker's power of the Republican Steering Committee.  

Rep. James B. Renacci of Ohio wants leadership to prioritize floor votes on bills that have the support of a majority of members, not just the measures leaders like best. And Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia wants anyone running for elected leadership to give up whatever elected leadership positions they currently hold.  

GOP Split Over Whether to Fast-Track Elections or Take More Time

McCarthy, center, and Scalise, right, are still expected to move up in the wake of Boehner's resignation. But both face complications. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans were already divided over the candidates for speaker, majority leader and whip. Now they're finding themselves split over when to hold elections.  

Over the weekend, the expectation that members would vote on Thursday for a new leadership slate was turned upside down, as some lawmakers amped up lobbying efforts to postpone votes for majority leader and whip.  

McCarthy Gets Earful From Both Sides for Benghazi Remarks

McCarthy takes heat for Benghazi remarks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News Tuesday night the House Select Committee on Benghazi's major accomplishment so far was discrediting 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, he might have expected moans and groans from Democrats. What the California Republican and expected heir to John A. Boehner's speakership might not have anticipated was the criticism from colleagues on his side of the aisle.  

Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who is running for majority whip in the event there's a vacancy in the post-Boehner leadership scramble, said Wednesday he would have chosen his words differently.  

Breaking Down the CR Vote

Price voted "no" on the CR. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just 91 House Republicans voted with every Democrat to keep the government open after midnight Wednesday — that's three out of every eight members of the conference.  

It could have been that the 151 GOP opponents felt free to snub the continuing resolution  — which didn't contain language defunding Planned Parenthood — knowing Democrats were prepared to make up for the shortfall.  

Rules Could Complicate Leadership Fight (Updated)

Scalise listens as McCarthy speaks Tuesday during a new conference on Capitol Hill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:26 p.m. | A rules fight could determine who holds power in the House Republican Conference under a new speaker when the elections are held on Oct. 8.  

While Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California remains the odds-on favorite to inherit John A. Boehner’s gavel, the race for his position remains fluid and that has caused all kinds of uncertainty down the ballot. One of the leading candidates for House whip says elected members of the conference leadership — such as current Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana — should vacate their own positions in order to run for a higher office.