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Katko endorses Joyce to replace him as chair of moderate House GOP caucus

Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) speaks to Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) as they leave the Capitol following the last votes of the week on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Greg Nash

Rep. John Katko (N.Y.) is stepping down as chairman of the Republican Governance Group, the caucus of moderate House Republicans formerly known as the Tuesday Group, and endorsing Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) to be its next chairman.

“This caucus is one of the most effective conservative organizations with the purpose of breaking through Washington’s continued dysfunction. When given the choice of making a point or making a difference, we always aim for the latter,” Joyce said in a statement to The Hill.

“I’m running for Republican Governance Group Chair to advance the pragmatic voices in our ranks so we can do just that – make a difference,” he added.

Katko, first elected as a co-chairman of the caucus in 2017, announced his intention to step down from chairing the group at a caucus meeting on Tuesday. He is retiring from Congress at the end of this year.

“Whatever that transition is going to be, I want it to be now,” Katko said after the meeting, so that whoever takes over as chair of the group can “hit the ground running.”

“I’m hoping it’s going to be Dave, and that’s what I’m recommending,” Katko said.

Joyce said the election for the next chairman will be next week.

“If I’m elected to be the next Republican Governance Group Chair, I will carve out a viable path forward for effective lawmaking – a path that our constituents deserve, and Congress desperately need,” Joyce said.

“Government isn’t a game. Americans can’t afford Washington’s continued dysfunction. With the House all but guaranteed to flip in November, now is the time for leadership that will shed the stigma portraying common-sense Republicans as a dying breed and reestablish our caucus as the dealmakers this legislative body cannot govern without,” he added.

The fifth-term congressman is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and is ranking member on its Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Joyce also sits on the House Ethics Committee.

The Republican Governance Group has an opportunity to expand its membership and influence if Republicans win the majority this year. The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting a large number of currently Democratic-held districts that President Biden won, many by more than 10 points. Any Republicans who win those districts are likely to be more moderate ideologically.

“We have 46 members now. We need more,” Katko said. “We’re the ones that are going to be making the rational decisions that are going to lead to actual legislation.”

The current vice chairs are Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), both of whom, like Katko, voted in favor of impeaching former President Trump after Jan. 6, 2021. Upton is also retiring from Congress at the end of this year, and Herrera Beutler faces an August primary against Trump-endorsed GOP challenger Joe Kent.

Joyce could position himself as a moderate who is positioned to build bridges to the rest of the Republican conference and to Democrats.

He did not vote to impeach Trump, making him less politically risky for hard-line conservative Republicans to work with. He also did not object to certification of electoral votes on Jan. 6, a position that keeps many Democrats from wanting to work with Republicans on legislation.

Tags David Joyce David Joyce Fred Upton House GOP Jaime Herrera Beutler Jamie Herera Butler John Katko John Katko Republican Governance Group

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