Morning Business: Putting the R in Armed

Posted June 9, 2009 at 6:24pm

The House Republican Steering Committee on Tuesday named Rep. Howard McKeon (Calif.) to succeed Rep. John McHugh (N.Y.) as the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee.

[IMGCAP(1)]In giving the job to McKeon, the panel passed over Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), the second-most-senior Armed Services member, and Rep. Mac Thornberry (Texas), the panel’s fourth in line.

George Rasley, a spokesman for Thornberry, said that Thornberry would continue his work on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees.

“Seniority is hard to overcome, but Mac has a lot of ideas about national security and wanted the chance to advance them,— Rasley said. “McKeon had the support of [Minority Leader] John Boehner [R-Ohio], and that’s what it came down to.—

Tuesday’s vote ends an intense week of lobbying by McKeon, Bartlett and Thornberry that began shortly after the Obama administration announced McHugh’s nomination on June 2 to become secretary of the Army. McHugh stepped down from the committee the next day.

The vote occurred behind closed doors, where the three candidates gave presentations and then answered questions by members of the Steering Committee.

McKeon’s win opens up the ranking member position on the Education and Labor Committee. Reps. Tom Petri (Wis.), Mike Castle (Del.) and Mark Souder (Ind.) are the next three Members in line for the post.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra is senior to Castle on the Education and Labor roster, but he is planning to leave Congress to run for governor in Michigan.