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Conservative plan would boot chairmen off Steering panel

Conservative plan would boot chairmen off Steering panel
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Conservative House lawmakers are pitching a major overhaul of the influential Steering Committee, changes that include booting the chairmen of the six most-powerful committees off the Speaker-controlled panel in a bid to spread out the power, The Hill has learned.

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The Steering panel is significant because each Congress it decides which lawmakers will serve as committee chairmen and doles out committee assignments.

The roughly 30-member panel will decide on Wednesday whether to award the Ways and Means Committee gavel to Rep. Kevin BradyKevin BradyTax reform: Starting place for jobs, growth Overnight Finance: Trump blasts Carrier's union leader | What's in the spending bill | Jamie Dimon gets perch for Trump era | AT&T, Time Warner execs grilled Koch Industries warns about 'devastating' House GOP tax plan provision MORE (R-Texas) or Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). Former Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Cruz, DeSantis to introduce constitutional amendment on term limits House GOP made call on miners benefits MORE (R-Wis.) resigned after being elected Speaker last week.

House Republicans will hold a special meeting Thursday to discuss possible changes to the Steering Committee, as well as other rules and policy matters. Ryan has said he is open to revamping the Steering Committee as part of broader changes to internal GOP rules and procedures.

The proposal obtained by The Hill is being floated by members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Among the highlights:

  • The Speaker currently gets five votes on the Steering panel, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gets two. Under the proposal, all GOP leaders would receive just one vote.
  • The proposal would kick “A” committee chairmen off of Steering: Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.); Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.); Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.); Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas); Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas); and the new Ways and Means Committee chairman.
  • The conservatives’ plan would expand to 20 the number of Steering members representing 20 geographic regions in the country. Currently, there are just 13 regional representatives.

One GOP lawmaker involved in the effort to reform the Steering panel called the conservatives’ plan a “bad idea.” This lawmaker backs a compromise that would preserve existing members, while adding more regional representatives.

“I believe we should open up and expand the number without kicking anyone off,” the GOP lawmaker said. Many conservatives “are willing to go with an approach that doesn’t pull chairmen off and instead opens it up by adding folks.”

Steering Conference Rules Reform