Skip to comments.RSC members press Pence to stay in chair
Posted on 05/09/2006 6:44:27 AM PDT by Gipper08
Several members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest conservative caucus in the House, have asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) to consider extending his term as chairman beyond this year.
Pences term is set to expire at the end of this session of Congress, but colleagues say he has done an excellent job guiding the conservative caucus and dont know of anyone with ambitions to replace him.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has risen to national prominence in the past year because of the political uproar over earmarks, said he is not looking to succeed Pence.
I think hes done a whale of a job, said Flake, who has asked Pence to stay on. Theres no better communicator in the Congress than Mike Pence. To the extent we need to make an exception, we ought to make it. Weve done that before; its not unprecedented. We have far more influence now than we did in the past.
Flake said the caucus has 110 dues-paying members, of whom 50-60 show up to its weekly meetings, many more than in recent years.
Another up-and-coming conservative, Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), a member of the Financial Services and Judiciary committees, said he is focused on his committee work and does not want to cut back on his workload to fill the time-consuming role of RSC chairman.
Conservative lawmakers say Pence can probably stay as chairman if he wants to. Pence told The Hill that, although several RSC members whom he respects have asked him to consider extending his service, he will not decide until after the November election.
The national political climate is so volatile that it is difficult to know the best way to serve the House Republican Conference, he said.
One GOP lawmaker told the Hill on condition of anonymity that if Republicans lose more than 15 seats in the midterm election there could be a shakeup in the conference leadership
Pence also noted, however, that Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) set a precedent by staying on as RSC chairman more than the customary two years, starting in 2000 and then serving a full term in 2001 and 2002.
The RSC has achieved high-profile wins during Pences tenure. Perhaps most significant was this month, when House appropriators agreed to include earmark reform in the lobbying reform bill the House passed last week. This requires appropriators to link earmarks provisions setting aside funds for specific, usually parochial, purposes in a spending bill with the names of sponsoring lawmakers. House leaders have also promised to give lawmakers knowledge of earmarks contained in a spending bill well before it reaches the floor.
In addition, GOP leaders have promised to extend earmark reform to authorizing committees, such as Ways and Means and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Pence also receives high marks from conservatives for Operation Offset, a public campaign House conservatives launched last year advocating spending cuts to pay for hurricane reconstruction. The campaign was a rebellion against the GOP congressional leadership and, although it angered leaders, succeeded in making fiscal discipline one of the top Republican priorities of 2006.
One conservative lawmakers aide predicted there might be some opposition to Pences continuing as chairman, perhaps from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the second-term lawmaker who has headed the conservatives budget task force.
Hensarling has been seen as having his sights set on the chairmanship, but he, too, enthusiastically endorses Pence for an extended term.
If theres not an official movement, I hope youre talking to the unofficial leader of the draft Mike Pence movement, he said. I think hes taken the committee to a new level of conservative political activism, and most members find him to be a dynamic communicator and inspiring leader who gets things done kind of the total package. I hope we could talk Mike into it.
Shadegg, a popular former chairman of the conservative caucus, is not expected to make a bid for the chairmanship. He stepped down from his post as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee to run for majority leader this year and would likely view the RSC chair as a backward step.
Before Pences term began at the start of the 109th Congress, the chairman of the RSC was chosen by a steering group of caucus founders and former chairmen. But last Congress, Pence and other lawmakers advocated for direct elections, calling the former process undemocratic.
The steering committee submitted Pences nomination to the RSC membership, said a conservative lawmaker who explained the process. Members then had the opportunity to nominate other candidates, and the final decision was made by a vote of the caucus membership. The steering panel has also been broadened to include younger lawmakers who have not served as chairman, making it more representative of the entire caucus.
Sorry guys, we're going to need Mr. Pence from 2008 - 2016. He's got a country to fix.
He is already on record as being against a run, and is a solid true man of his word.....unfotunatly, unless that changes, he isn't running in 2008.
Sometimes a man can have to much integrity, and be to good a person.
Its going to take a massive draft campaign, and he doesn't seem to be game to that either.
I cast my ping for Pence.