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GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules

Incoming House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHouse GOP lawmaker: Trump 'put all of our lives at risk' Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Democrats seize on GOP donor fallout 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 ColeGOP lawmaker gives up honorary college degree in wake of Electoral College vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to impeach Trump after Capitol insurrection House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump MORE (Okla.) is the most senior Republican on the panel after Rules Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results National lawyers group seeks to have Gohmert disciplined over election suit On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 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 GrangerHere are the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump Growing number of lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after Capitol siege Overnight Health Care: US sets record for daily COVID-19 deaths with over 3,800 | Hospitals say vaccinations should be moving faster | Brazilian health officials say Chinese COVID vaccine 78 percent effective 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 BurgessREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Westerman tapped as top Republican on House Natural Resources Committee | McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce | EPA joins conservative social network Parler McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce 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 WoodallMcCarthy guarantees GOP will take back House in 2022 Rundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day Bustos won't seek to chair DCCC again in wake of 2020 results 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 NewhouseUpton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? Kinzinger says he is 'in total peace' after impeachment vote 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 CollinsDrudge congratulates Warnock, says Ann Coulter should have been GOP candidate Warnock defeats Loeffler in Georgia Senate runoff Warnock says he needs to win 'by comfortable margin' because 'funny things go on' 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 CheneyGOP divided over Liz Cheney's future The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history GOP in bind over Trump as corporate donations freeze 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 ByrneLobbying world Lawmakers grill Pentagon over Trump's Germany drawdown Bottom line 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 BrooksBottom line House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Voters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican 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 DavisGOP divided over Liz Cheney's future Trust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots Cori Bush slams lawmakers who refused to go through metal detector outside House chamber MORE (Ill.) as the top Republican on the House Administration Committee and decided to keep fellow California Republican Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesPelosi raises alarm after Trump loyalist installed as top NSA lawyer NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order CIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report MORE, a close Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE ally, as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee.