GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules

Incoming House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (Calif.) is struggling with one of his first jobs: picking someone to serve as the top Republican on the influential Rules Committee that dictates how every piece of legislation is considered on the floor.

Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeLawmaker alleges political payback in failed 'deepfakes' measure The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings Dems shift strategy for securing gun violence research funds MORE (Okla.) is the most senior Republican on the panel after Rules Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsHillicon Valley — Presented by CTIA and America's wireless industry — Lawmaker sees political payback in fight over 'deepfakes' measure | Tech giants to testify at hearing on 'censorship' claims | Google pulls the plug on AI council Lawmaker alleges political payback in failed 'deepfakes' measure As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges MORE (R-Texas), who is leaving Congress after losing his reelection bid.

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There is chatter McCarthy has been trying to convince Cole to take the job, but the Oklahoman is reluctant because of his role as the top Republican on an Appropriations subcommittee that controls tens of billions of dollars in funding. He likely cannot have both jobs on two top panels, known in the Capitol as “A” committees.

Last week, Cole lost the top GOP job on the Appropriations Committee to Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerGOP, Dems balk at latest Trump foreign aid cuts On The Money: Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution | US hits Russia with new sanctions | Dems renew push for contractor back pay | Lawmakers seek probe into undocumented workers at Trump businesses House Dems renew push for government contractor back pay MORE (R-Texas). He has passed up running for Budget Committee chairman in the past due to his leadership role on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health, education and labor.

“People would view Cole as a very capable member,” said a GOP aide familiar with the Rules panel. “He knows the process and how things are done better than most; he gets along with people but is also knowledgeable.”

A McCarthy spokesperson had no immediate comment for this story.

Another senior Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders to roll out 'Medicare for all' bill | Dems target Juul over Altria ties | Measles cases spike nationwide GOP rep who supports lowering voting age: 'It's on us' if 16-year-olds vote Democratic Divisions emerge over House drug price bills MORE (R-Texas), is in the same boat as Cole: The former physician has been chairman of a powerful Energy and Commerce subcommittee that oversees health-care issues and would be the top Republican on that panel in the next Congress.

Then there is Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallLatino group urges state lawmaker to make primary challenge to Democrat for Georgia House seat House Budget Republican says Dems request of Trump tax returns is attempt 'to weaponize' tax code GOP lawmaker predicts a Reagan-like immigration bill will land on Trump's desk MORE (R-Ga.), the second most senior member on the committee after Cole. But he’ll be one of Democrats’ top targets in the 2020 cycle. Woodall nearly lost his reelection bid last month and could prefer to devote his energies to the campaign trail rather than an exhaustive job leading Rules for the minority party.

Rep. Dan NewhouseDaniel (Dan) Milton NewhouseCybersecurity Advisory Committee will strengthen national security through a stronger public-private partnership Hillicon Valley — Presented by NCTA — HUD hits Facebook with discrimination charges | Agency also investigating Twitter, Google | Twitter may label Trump tweets that violate rules | Apple moves raise competition concerns Bipartisan bill would create cyber advisory panel at DHS MORE (R-Wash.) is a possibility, too, but he’s not as well known a figure in the Capitol as Cole or Burgess. And there’s a question of whether he could go toe-to-toe with incoming Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who was first elected in 1996.

Before legislation heads to the House floor, it must first pass the Rules Committee, which decides how long the chamber will debate the bill, who gets to debate and which amendments get a vote.

Part of the reason McCarthy, the incoming minority leader, is facing limited options is because Republicans lost the House last month. That means the GOP’s numbers on the powerful panel will be cut in half — from eight to likely four — after Democrats officially take over the majority next month.

It’s unlikely that McCarthy would tap someone from outside the committee who has zero Rules experience.

Other folks on Rules are moving on to other jobs. Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsDemocrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general Judiciary chairman issues subpoena for full Mueller report Judiciary Republican: Nadler 'only person trying to spin' Mueller report MORE (R-Ga.) can’t serve as ranking member of Rules because he won the job as top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Another Rules member, Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRep. Cheney: Socialism 'driving the agenda of the Democratic Party' Dem lawmaker offers tool for 'filling in the blanks' of Green New Deal Judd Gregg: In praise of Mike Enzi MORE (R-Wyo.), just won a seat on McCarthy’s leadership team, as GOP Conference chairwoman, and would not want a second high-profile, time-consuming job.

And Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneGOP leaders dead set against Roy Moore in Alabama GOP strategist: Alabama Republicans need to 'gather around' candidate who 'is not Roy Moore' The Hill's Morning Report — Combative Trump aims at Pelosi before Russia report MORE (R-Ala.) is gearing up for a likely Senate bid in 2020.

Most of the ranking member positions were selected by the GOP Steering Committee last week.

But McCarthy, by virtue of his position as incoming GOP leader, gets to handpick the top Republican on Rules, sometimes referred to as the “Speaker’s Committee” because of how closely its chairman and ranking member work with the top Democratic and Republican leaders.

The other key decision for McCarthy to make before the new Congress kicks off Jan. 3 is to select the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee. It’s unclear if Rep. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksHouse Republicans find silver lining in minority The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for MORE (Ind.) would want to stay another two years leading that panel for the Republicans, but only two of 19 GOP ranking members named so far are women.  

Last week, McCarthy tapped Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seeks tougher rules on asylum seekers House passes Paycheck Fairness Act MORE (Ill.) as the top Republican on the House Administration Committee and decided to keep fellow California Republican Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesTen post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Schiff, Nunes pressed DOJ for Mueller briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Mueller report will dominate this week MORE, a close Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE ally, as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee.