Republicans who are jockeying to lead House committees in the next Congress are being asked to explain how they would focus on job creation.
According to the prospective chairmen, members of the House Republican Steering Committee have asked how the respective lawmakers would gear their committee's agenda toward improving the economy.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who is in line to take the gavel of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, spent a half-hour taking questions from the members of the Steering Committee on Monday. The panel comprises all the Republican leadership teams and regional representatives and class representatives.
Even though Issa’s bid for chairman is uncontested, all prospective chairmen have to make presentations before the nearly 30-member panel, which will decide the top-ranking Republican lawmaker on the various House committees.
Following his closed-door meeting with the panel Monday night, Issa said his colleagues zeroed in on how his committee would move forward on the Republican mandate to turn around the economy.
"I don't have, per se, the capability to deal with unemployment, but I do have a mandate to look at government agencies that are causing unemployment not to occur," Issa told The Hill.
"I think all of us in the new majority [are] focused on 'how do we create an environment in which the economy will prosper and jobs will return?' And so each of us from our committee[s] are being held to answer the basic question: what are you going to do to help get it working again, to help make America more profitable again, to get government to be with employment rather than against it," Issa said.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), considered a long-shot in his contest for chairman of the Science and Technology Committee against current ranking member Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), also had to address the issue of job creation in his interview before his colleagues.
"They were talking about how this would relate to the issue of job creation and I made sure I told them about intellectual property rights, which I’m very involved in," Rohrabacher said after his 25-minute presentation on Monday night.
The Steering Committee is set to hear from candidates in contested races for the top spot on three powerful committees on Tuesday afternoon when they interview lawmakers for the Energy and Commerce, Appropriations and Financial Services panels.