McCotter jabs Cantor over policy panel

A member of the House Republican leadership on Thursday jabbed Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) for opposing the elimination of the GOP policy committee.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) publicly locked horns with Cantor in their high-profile spat over a proposal to eliminate the House Republican Policy Committee, on which McCotter serves as chairman.

McCotter chided his fellow member of the House GOP leadership team on Thursday for balking at the proposal to eliminate the policy committee, and, with it, some $360,000 in spending on offices and salaries. 

The fourth-ranking House Republican responded to a statement from Cantor on Fox News, in which Cantor is quoted as questioning McCotter's work as chairman of the policy committee.

"To that end, it only makes sense that the 'policy' committee contribute to that effort, even if its current chairman hasn't thus far," Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring was quoted as saying, prompting the exchange.

"I think Eric's absolutely mistaken in his assumption. This is all we've ever heard out of the status quo in Washington," McCotter said. "As for the whip, I would encourage him, especially when he's got his 'YouCut' program up there, to turn it into 'WeCut' first."

The remarks are a public reflection of a behind-the-scenes battle between Cantor and McCotter over the fate of the committee, which is a leadership office with the potential to shape committee assignments for House GOP lawmakers. McCotter argues the office is superfluous and overlaps with policy shops in existing leadership offices, while Cantor has said the committee plays a big role in shaping the party's proposals.

"In terms of getting the message out, we have a conference committee leadership position that does that; we spend over a million on it," McCotter said. "We spend over a million on the whip's office; we spend millions on the leader's office. We can make a small, significant step to return it."

Despite the barbs that he and Cantor have exchanged over the fate of the leadership office, however, McCotter downplayed the notion of any serious rift emerging among House Republicans over the committee.

"No, I think it's an opportunity to just show the people who are relying on us to have learned our lesson to see that we actually have started to prove it," he said.

Updated 11:24 a.m.