Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman John Ensign (R-Nev.) has tapped several top policy analysts in hopes of bulking up an organization he hopes can help Republicans compete on a policy level despite their reduced numbers.

Ensign today announced his legislative director, Pamela Thiessen, would take over as the committee's staff director. A veteran of several Senate offices and the Pentagon, Thiessen will take over a shop newly rededicated to pushing position papers and research into bills headed to the floor.

Her analysts will include Mike O'Reilly, the former legislative director to ex-Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.); Derrick Morgan, a former staff secretary and special counsel to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney; and Jon Lieber, who served in the White House on the National Economic Council.

O'Reilly will handle commerce, transportation and banking issues, while Morgan takes over energy, environmental and agricultural portfolios. Lieber will serve as the RPC's chief economist and handle research into appropriations measures.

The new staffers also include Rebecca Fisher, the former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), who moved over to the RPC with Ensign. Fisher will hold the same title she held at the NRSC.

Ensign introduced the new policy analysts at a reception for reporters Wednesday evening in the committee's Russell offices.

-Reid Wilson