House Republicans voted Thursday to reorganize the powerful Steering Committee, the first step in a series of expected reforms under new Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanMeet Trump's secret weapon on infrastructure Here comes Trump-o-nomics GOP waiting to hear from Trump on ObamaCare 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.
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.