As you may have heard, House Republicans met yesterday to elect leadership for the next Congress. While mostly mundane, such as the re-election of John Boehner for House Speaker, there was an interesting race between Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers for chair of the House Republican Conference, an important position that helps communicate the party’s message.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Boehner had offered Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) a deal that would have provided him an appointed leadership position in exchange for him dropping out of the race and pledging loyalty to GOP leadership in the House. Price, one of the more conservative members in the caucus, declined the offer.
Unfortunately, whatever hope conservatives had for a seat in House leadership was ended yesterday as Rogers defeated Price, ensuring an echo-chamber for Boehner in leadership and a sign that House Republicans are willing to deal with Obama.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who chairs the House Budget Committee and is a popular figure in the conservative movement, reiterated his support for Price in a letter to colleagues. Now, some may dismiss the significance, but Ryan’s involvement made this more than a leadership race between two members, but also against two high-profile Republicans with differing views on how to approach negotiation on the “fiscal cliff” with the White House.
As Conn Carroll explained yesterday, “Ryan and the [Republican Study Committe] were instrumental in keeping Boehner from giving Obama his ‘Grand Bargain’ on tax hikes in the summer of 2011.” Carroll noted that if Rogers, who was ostensibly Boehner’s choice, “it could be a sign he will prevail later this year when he presents the conference with whatever deal he has made with Obama on the fiscal cliff.”
Unfortunately, whatever hope conservatives had for a seat in House leadership was ended yesterday as Rogers defeated Price, ensuring an echo-chamber for Boehner in leadership and a sign that House Republicans are going to enter the “fiscal cliff” talks with Obama from an unprincipled position.