House GOP approves overhaul of powerful Steering panel

House GOP approves overhaul of powerful Steering panel
© Greg Nash

House Republicans voted Thursday to reorganize the powerful Steering Committee, the first step in a series of expected reforms under new Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanConservatives leery of FBI deal on informant Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — House passes 'right to try' drug bill | Trump moves to restrict abortion referrals Hillicon Valley: Trump claims 'no deal' to help Chinese company ZTE | Congress briefed on election cyber threats | Mueller mystery - Where's indictment for DNC hack? | Zuckerberg faces tough questions in Europe MORE (R-Wis.) to decentralize power within the 246-member GOP conference.

The vote in a closed-door meeting was unanimous, a rarity for the usually raucous caucus. The Steering panel, led by the Speaker, has enormous influence on Capitol Hill, deciding each Congress which members receive coveted committee gavels and committee assignments.

The 33-member panel this month elected Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyPush for NAFTA deal continues as uncertainty increases Tax reform postmortem reveals lethal dose of crony capitalism Trump makes Manchin top target for midterms MORE (R-Texas) over Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) to become chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Tiberi will take over Brady’s old job as the top House Republican on the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, sources said.

Under the reorganization, six top House committee chairmen, close allies of the Speaker, were booted from the Steering Committee. But a chairman will be able to sit in on select Steering meetings if they are centered on issues pertaining to that chairman’s specific committee.

The chairmen will be replaced by lawmakers elected by the entire 246-member GOP conference.

In another change, Ryan now will only get four votes on the panel instead of five, though the Speaker will have an opportunity to appoint a new “at-large” member to the panel.

New members of the panel will be elected later this year to reflect the changes. Other procedural and rules reforms are expected to be taken up by the GOP conference later this year — something Ryan has promised to rank-and-file members who’ve complained about the “top-down” power structure.