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RSC chairman: McConnell should call it a career

RSC chairman: McConnell should call it a career
© Camille Fine

The chairman of the Republican Study Committee says Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) should step down as majority leader.

“I think he’s a huge part of the problem,” Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told NBC News, comparing McConnell to the manager of a losing baseball team.

He noted that usually when a team goes on a bad losing streak, it’s the manager, not the players, who is fired.

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“There’s a growing consensus that would be very happy if the fine senator from Kentucky called it a career,” Walker told NBC.

Walker leads a group of 150 conservative House GOP lawmakers.

House members have been increasingly frustrated with the Senate, which this week failed again to make progress on ObamaCare repeal.

A spokesman for McConnell declined to respond publicly to the criticism, but allies of the senator waived it off, noting that House members don’t vote in Senate leadership races.

No Republican senator has publicly expressed interest in challenging McConnell for the Senate’s top job, and even after the demise of the health-care repeal bill, Senate Republicans said his leadership position is safe.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has also been under pressure to step aside, one McConnell ally noted, arguing that grumbling over leadership is nothing special on Capitol Hill.  

McConnell’s longtime conservative critics are seizing on the health-care setback to put political pressure on the GOP leader, whom they have long viewed as a member of the Washington establishment.

McConnell suffered a blow this week when the candidate he backed in the Alabama Senate Republican primary, Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe Trump Presidency: Year One Dems search for winning playbook Stephen Bannon steps down from Breitbart MORE, lost to former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who vowed in a fundraising email to end McConnell’s reign as majority leader.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.), who works closely with McConnell, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday that frustration with the Senate is boiling over among House Republicans.

“We’re really frustrated. Look, we passed 373 bills here in the House — 270-some are still in the Senate,” Ryan told host Joe Kernen.

Ryan noted that the House has passed more bills at this stage of the Trump administration than at similar points in the Obama, Clinton and both Bush administrations.

Those accomplishments include legislation repealing and replacing the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, border security legislation and education reform.

“We’re all frustrated in the House. The Senate has rules that perplex us, that frustrate us but it is the way our system works,” Ryan further lamented.

Other House Republicans, however, say senators like John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (Ariz.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine) are bigger problems than McConnell.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (Texas), the second-ranking member of the GOP leadership and one of the most qualified candidates to serve as the next Senate Republican leader, on Wednesday said McConnell’s job is safe. 

“Sen. McConnell’s standing as the leader in the Republican Conference I think is very solid,” he said.