One week after Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he was retiring from Congress at the end of October, a battle is heating up as to who will serve at the top positions opening up as a result. Next in line for the job is Representative Kevin McCarthy who announced earlier this week his plan on replacing Boehner. He will likely win the nomination, but the House Republican Conference is abuzz with campaigns of lawmakers wanting to secure the other top spots.
Representative Steve Scalise is unofficially getting into the game to serve as the number two in command, House majority leader. Representative Tom Price has also indicated his plan to vie for the position. And, yet another lawmaker who hopes to secure the position is Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers – who in 2015 beat Price for the position of conference chair.
To discuss all of this, as well as the factions dividing the Republican party, a special meeting of the Republic conference will be held today – twice.
McMorris Rodgers released a letter regarding the upcoming gatherings of the GOP conference, stating that, “Th[e] conference meeting[s] [are] not about any one leader or group of Members. All of us want to work together with the trust and respect our service demands, and it starts with opening lines of communication on Tuesday.”
Representative Peter Roskam pushed for the conference meetings stating, “My argument is it would be a mistake to act as if John Boehner is simply retiring. We’ve got a situation here because the speaker obviously left because he didn’t enjoy the support that he needed from his own conference and I don’t know when the last time that happened.”
Indeed, Republican leaders hope to get the party back on track. The goal of the meetings has been described as a discussion about the party’s “strategy going forward.”
Echoing the sentiment that the party needs to unite and move forward, McCarthy stated that, “We have made real progress towards shrinking an overgrown federal government and reforming our broken entitlement system. But our work is far from done. We can’t ignore the differences that exist, but we can and must heal the divisions in our conference with work, time, and trust . . . I am also sensitive to what is happening outside of [Congress]. I want us to be much closer to the people we represent, and I want them to once again feel like this is their government, they are in charge, and we are here to serve them.”