Republican freshman scolds GOP leaders for poor communication

Freshman GOP Rep. Dennis Ross (Fla.) blasted his party's leadership for failing to tell him they were using his pension reform bill to pay for a $260 billion transportation bill.

Ross, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, chastised GOP leaders and his colleagues for poor communication, according to a source in the closed-door Republican conference meeting Wednesday morning who was present for Ross’s scolding.

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“I would have at least expected a member from leadership to call me and tell me, ‘I know you may not like this, but we’re going to use your pension bill to fund [the transportation bill],’ and at least have some communication. And I’m supposed to acquiesce?” Ross said, according to the source.

Ross — who indicated he found out from his staffer that he couldn’t offer an amendment to pension provisions in the transportation bill during floor consideration — stood to call for more member-to-member communication, the source said.

“First of all, this has to be member driven, not staff driven,” Ross said. “Second of all, if we are going to talk transparency outside this room, we better practice it inside this room, because we haven’t.”

The room was silent after Ross wrapped up his remarks: “Not a soul said a word ... it was dead silence,” the source said.

Ross then turned and left the meeting, the source said.

The freshman lawmaker was not the only GOP member concerned with using the pension-reform bill to pay for the transportation measure.

A number of lawmakers said they were willing to delve into pension reform to make the system solvent, but “not to go build roads.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday he would delay a scheduled vote on the measure.

GOP leaders are also considering using savings from pension reform to help pay for an extension of unemployment benefits and the Medicare 'doc fix' as part of a payroll tax cut extension.

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