Chaffetz replacement sworn in as House member
© Greg Nash

House Republicans added Rep. John Curtis (Utah) to their ranks on Monday to replace former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE, who resigned earlier this year.

The timing for Curtis to take the oath of office after winning a special election last week couldn’t be better for House GOP leaders as they round up votes for their tax-reform bill.

The House is now comprised of 240 Republicans and 194 Democrats. That means Republicans can afford up to 22 defections and still pass legislation strictly along party lines.


Curtis previously served as mayor of Provo, the third-largest city in Utah. He has acknowledged he didn't vote for President Trump in 2016, but explained in an October The Salt Lake Tribune op-ed that he will support "moving an agenda forward that is in harmony with the needs and values" of the district.

Fewer than 10 House Republicans have said they will vote against the tax overhaul so far, according to The Hill’s whip list, a good sign for GOP leaders.

Democrats are unlikely to vote for the tax overhaul, which is expected to get a House floor vote by the end of this week.

The chamber still has one vacancy, due to the resignation of former Rep. Tim MurphyTim MurphyConor Lamb defeats Trump-backed challenger for reelection in Pennsylvania Biden receives endorsements from three swing-district Democrats A federal abortion law might be needed MORE (R-Pa.) last month following a report indicating that he urged a woman with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.

The special election to replace Murphy won’t be until March 13.

Chaffetz resigned from the House at the end of June, later taking a position at Fox News. Had Chaffetz chosen to stay, he could have remained chairman of the House Oversight Committee through 2020 under the GOP conference’s term limit rules. 

Chaffetz has not ruled out another run for public office in the future.