GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules

Incoming House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTop Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Ocasio-Cortez on concentration camp remarks: Liz Cheney, GOP 'manipulating pain for political purposes' GOP rep: Trump needs to retaliate against Iran to deter other hostile nations 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 ColeDemocrats wary of Trump's 'erratic' approach to Iran Ex-GOP lawmaker says Trump 'illegitimate president,' should be impeached Ex-GOP lawmaker pens op-ed calling for Trump to be impeached 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 GrangerDemocrats take aim at Trump policies by passing T spending package Congressional leaders, White House officials to meet Wednesday on spending Democrats set stage for next shutdown fight with wall-free spending bill 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 BurgessBipartisan House panel leaders ask agencies for maternal mortality data Overnight 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 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 WoodallIndiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Democratic rep says she's tired of 'sex-starved males' talking about abortion rights MSNBC host presses GOP lawmaker on why he didn't read Mueller report 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 NewhouseHouse passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' Immigrant Heritage Month should spur congressional action to fix immigration laws Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill 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 CollinsHicks repeatedly blocked by White House from answering Judiciary questions Judiciary chair: Hicks broke with Trump on accepting foreign dirt on opponents Democrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony 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 CheneyOcasio-Cortez on concentration camp remarks: Liz Cheney, GOP 'manipulating pain for political purposes' Ocasio-Cortez calls out Steve King, Liz Cheney amid controversy over concentration camp remarks Washington braces for Trump's next move on Iran 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 ByrneThe Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back McConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems Trump Jr.: Roy Moore 'doing a disservice to all conservatives' by running for Senate 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 BrooksDCCC says it raised .85 million in May GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Republicans raise concerns over House campaign arm leadership 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 DavisThis week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request Hillicon Valley: House panel advances election security bill | GOP senator targets YouTube with bill on child exploitation | Hicks told Congress Trump camp felt 'relief' after release of Clinton docs | Commerce blacklists five Chinese tech groups House panel advances election security bill requiring paper ballots MORE (Ill.) as the top Republican on the House Administration Committee and decided to keep fellow California Republican Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Lawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing Intel hearing showcases political divide over Mueller report MORE, a close Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE ally, as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee.