Leadership shuffle in Congress? The drama is all on the winning side.
In both chambers of Congress, the postelection intrigue about leadership posts is mostly on the Republican side of the aisle, as the GOP establishment confronts the tea party insurgency.
(Page 2 of 3)
“Tea Party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country, not be co-opted by the club. So put on your boxing gloves, the fight begins today,” he wrote in an oped in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. DeMint is urging his new colleagues to focus their reform efforts on the Senate floor, rather than the committee process.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Not to be outflanked on the right, McConnell on Thursday laid down a fiery line in a speech before the conservative Heritage Foundation. He renewed calls to make the defeat of President Obama in 2012 the GOP’s top political priority.
He called the midterm elections a “report card on the administration and anyone who supported its agenda, plain and simple.”
McConnell also referenced “constitutional conservatism” – a mantra for tea party activists, and renewed calls for smaller government, lower taxes, and a strong defense.
“If our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” he said. The White House has a choice, he added: “change course or double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected.”
On the House side, Republican leader John Boehner also faces no formal opposition. But the speaker-to-be will be managing a historically outsized freshman class. In a press conference on Wednesday, he said Republicans would be working on the American people’s priorities: creating jobs, cutting spending, and reforming the way Congress does its business.
Asked on ABC News Thursday evening whether he supported McConnell’s call to make defeat of President Obama the top GOP priority, Boehner said: “That's Senator McConnell's statement and his opinion.”
“I think the American people want us to focus on their message during the election: stop the spending, get rid of the uncertainty. Let's get around to creating jobs again and staying focused on what the American people want us to focus on is my number one priority,” he added.
Republican whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, the current No. 2 in House Republican leadership, is running for House majority leader. In a letter to colleagues, he promised to change Congress, to “drain the swamp rather than learning to swim with the alligators.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who co-founded the “young gun” program to recruit House GOP candidates with Cantor and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is running to replace Mr. Cantor as whip. In a letter to colleagues Thursday, he said that Republicans must use conservative principles to create jobs and cut spending. “If we fail in this effort, we will find ourselves in the Minority once again, unworthy of redemption,” he wrote.