House Republican Conference
President Barack Obama will give the State of the Union address this evening where he will lay out his agenda for the next year. Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has told used the address to sell Americans a big government agenda that has ultimately left the worse off.
As this new video from the House Republican Conference shows, President Obama has made promises during past State of the Union addresses from cutting the deficit in half to ObamaCare not affecting current insurance coverage and reducing costs to enacting an energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, all of these promises have been broken — budget deficits have gotten completely out of control, some 7 million are expected to lose their employer-based coverage and costs for coverage have skyrocketed because of ObamaCare, and he has already rejected Keystone XL once to please his radical environmentalist base.
Check out the video below. It’ll make you wonder, given the broken promises of the last four years, what President Obama has in store for tonight:
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.
Earlier today, I mentioned that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) had rejected a deal from House Speaker John Boehner that would have given him an appointed leadership position if he withdrew from the race for House Republican Conference chair and promised not to oppose GOP leadership. Boehner’s preferred candidate is apparently Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) and he’s trying to avoid a potentially divisive fight.
Well, that got a lot more interesting today when Paul Ryan (R-WI), who served as Mitt Romney’s running mate this year and is popular with conservatives, reiterated his support for Price in a letter to colleagues:
In the Dear Colleague obtained by Roll Call, Ryan cites his experience putting together a House Republican budget as proof that Price is “uniquely qualified” to become conference chairman. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, on which Price sits.
Price is running against Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. She has touted the endorsements of seven committee chairmen.
Ryan, however, one of the most high-profile figures in the Republican Party, might have the credibility to sway his colleagues into supporting Price. Although he pledged his support to Price this past summer, the duties of running on the presidential ticket trumped congressional politics, and he had not been active in supporting the candidate.
Elections for House Republican leadership are heating up, and it has the potential for embarrassment for Speaker John Boehner. Yesterday, BuzzFeed reported that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) turned down an offer from Boehner for him to back out of his bid for chairman of the House Republican Conference, a nod to his preferred pick, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA):
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Boehner approached the Georgia Republican with the offer hoping to circumvent an ugly fight between Price and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers over chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.
McMorris Rodgers, a key surrogate for Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid, is favored by leadership. But Price has the backing of conservatives both within the conference and the broader movement, and his bid has threatened to turn the race ugly.
According to these sources, Boehner offered to make Price chairman of the Elected Leadership Council, the group of GOP leaders that runs the party in the House. The chairmanship carries prestige, but is not elected and is largely ceremonial since Boehner is in charge of the party.
But Boehner’s proposal came with a catch — Price would have to swear loyalty to leadership and promise not to break with them over the next two years.
Price, a doctor and former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has been fairly consistent in pushing fiscally conservative principles in the House. He was one of the fiercest opponents of ObamaCare and has been known to vote against leadership from time to time.
With the official Republican response to the State of the Union set to be given by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wonders why the media is paying attention to Rep. Michele Bachmann, who will give a shadow response through the Tea Party Express:
At his weekly briefing today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fielded a question about whether Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) Tea Party Express-hosted response to the State of the Union would “muddy” the rest of the Republican response.
“Paul Ryan’s giving the official Republican response,” said Cantor, “and, you know, Michele Bachmann, just as the other 534 members of the House and Senate, [is] going to have opinions as to the State of the Union. And again, this is a process that happens every year, and I look forward to all comments. But it’s Paul Ryan that’s giving the official response.”
The follow-up: Those other 534 members were not going to get their speeches televised that night, with reporters on deck to cover them.
“All right,” said Cantor. “Well, then, maybe I should ask: Why is that the case?”
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of Bachmann. She’s a reactionary that often has problems getting the facts right, talks a lot of about spending, but when it comes to pet projects, she want to change defintions to make those projects not sound bad. Like I said yesterday, this makes the House Republican Conference look divided, which is not a good sign this early on in this new majority.
Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is a father of the Tea Party movement – literally, after his son, Rand Paul, won a contentious GOP primary in Kentucky and was subsequently elected the state’s next senator.
So, his endorsement Tuesday of fellow Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling to chair the Republican Conference should quiet some voices in the tea party movement who would rather see Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann picked for the No. 4 leadership post in the House.
Mr. Paul’s endorsement letter to Mr. Hensarling is short and to the point: “As a fellow Texan I am pleased to announce my support for your candidacy as chairman of the House Republican Conference. I believe you have a unique opportunity to guide the conference to support concrete legislation that reduces the size and scope of the federal government.”
As I said on Monday, Hensarling is more serious about policy, and while I don’t agree with him on everything, he is more consistent than Bachmann, who has little to no public support from her colleagues in her bid. Even Rep. Paul Broun, a very conservative/constitutionalist Republican from my home state of Georgia, is backing Hensarling.
Jeb Hensarling or Michele Bachmann. House Republicans will have to make a choice between those two for chair of the House Republican Conference. While the tea party movement is making a push for Bachmann, the current members of House GOP leadership are not enthusiastic about her bid and are lining up behind Hensarling:
Boehner, aware of the role tea partiers played in making him the next House speaker, is endorsing no one. His lieutenants are lining up behind Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, leaving no doubt that Hensarling — and not Bachmann — is the leadership favorite to chair the GOP conference.
“There are few who have done as much for the Republican team as Jeb,” the expected House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, said in a statement.
Departing conference chairman Mike Pence of Indiana also endorsed Hensarling, calling him “one of the most principled conservatives in Congress.”
“Jeb Hensarling demonstrated his willingness to challenge Republican leaders and members to embrace a vision for limited government, fiscal discipline and traditional moral values,” said Pence, who is stepping down to pursue a possible gubernatorial or presidential bid in 2012.
House GOP leaders have varying views of whether any overture, symbolic or otherwise, is warranted. Still in the discussion stages is a proposal to establish a sort of at-large leadership post for a representative of the freshman class, but no decision has been made, according to GOP officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Despite the GOP taking control of the House, Rep. Mike Pence has stepped down from his leadership role to prep for his future:
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will step down from his position as chairman of the House Republican Conference, he announced on Wednesday.
Pence informed fellow House Republicans in a “Dear Colleague” letter that he would leave his third-ranking position within the House GOP to consider future opportunities — possibly a run for governor, or president.
“I am writing to inform you that, after much prayerful consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection as chairman of the House Republican Conference,” Pence said.
The open position will be the fourth-ranking job in the new House Republican leadership. GOP leader John Boehner (Ohio) will likely become Speaker, and Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will likely become majority leader.
The Nos. 3 and 4 positions — majority whip and conference chairman — are likely to become the subject of intense jockeying by ambitious House Republicans.
Among the candidates for both jobs are National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas), Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), who said Tuesday that more than a dozen colleagues had encouraged her to seek Pence’s job.
Many commentators believe that Pence, who is widely viewed as one of the more well-known conservatives in the House caucus, is setting himself up for a run for president in 2012 or Governor of Indiana.