Trump eyes House members for Cabinet jobs

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE has already tapped one House lawmaker for a key post in his fledgling administration: Conservative Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) is likely to be the next CIA director.

But other relatively obscure House lawmakers — including GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersThe Suburban Caucus: Solutions for America's suburbs Shimkus announces he will stick with plan to retire after reconsidering Bipartisan group reveals agricultural worker immigration bill MORE (Wash.), Tom Price (Ga.), Mike McCaul (Texas) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSenate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (Tenn.) — could make the leap from lower chamber to presidential Cabinet.

There’s plenty of precedent for president-elects to bring House members into their inner circle. After Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates Hill says Soros conspiracy theories are 'new Protocols of the Elders of Zion' So long as Iran dominates the Middle East, a new Baghdadi will rise MORE won the White House in 2008, he named Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) his first chief of staff. Obama also picked Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) to lead the Labor Department and Rep. Ray LaHood, a Republican from his home state of Illinois, to run his Transportation Department.

Several House lawmakers have already joined the parade of Cabinet job seekers who’ve lined up in recent days at Trump Tower in New York City and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who’s been mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary, paid Trump a visit last week to talk about tax policy, trade and repealing Dodd-Frank financial regulations. McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, huddled with Trump over the weekend in Bedminster. Retiring Rep. Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisLiz Cheney leads GOP field by 20 points in potential Wyoming Senate race: poll Liz Cheney and Rand Paul extend war of words Pressure rises on Cheney to make decision MORE (R-Wyo.) dropped by to see Trump on Tuesday.

It’s also possible that Trump could recruit House members for ambassadorships. Retiring Rep. Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonArizona voters like Kyl but few think he'll stick around Former Sen. Jon Kyl to replace McCain in Senate Arizona governor faces pressure over McCain replacement MORE (R-Ariz.), for example, is chairman of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and the only Republican in Congress who’s fluent in Mandarin. Some of his colleagues have mentioned Salmon as a possible ambassador to China.

While the list is not comprehensive, here are a handful of House members who could land a spot in the Trump Cabinet:

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)

Price, the current Budget Committee chairman and a former orthopedic surgeon, is a top contender to become Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, sources said. It’s a job that would place him right in the middle of the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

A vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, Price last year authored his own repeal and replace legislation that includes fewer dollars for high-risk pools — $3 billion — than other proposals, according to a Vox analysis.

Price also helped shape the healthcare plank for the House GOP’s “Better Way” agenda.

Like Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSecret Service spent over 0,000 at Trump hotels Five bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony 2019 Louisiana governor's race spells disaster for Trump in 2020 MORE, Price served in the past as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. And like Pence, Price would serve as a link between the Trump White House and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.

Given his committee work, Price also could easily step into the role of director of the Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for producing the president’s annual budget. Price met with Trump in New York just last week.


Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)

Trump’s first five picks for his administration — Reince Priebus, Stephen Bannon, Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMore than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Press: Ukraine's not the only outrage To understand death behind bars, we need more information MORE (R-Ala.), retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Pompeo — have all been white men, but he’s vowed that women will fill key slots in his Cabinet.

McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference chairwoman and the only woman on either the House or Senate GOP leadership teams, is one possibility.

Like Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanIs Joe Biden finished? Krystal Ball previews fifth Democratic debate Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled MORE (R-Wis.), McMorris Rodgers hesitated to endorse Trump once it was clear he would win the nomination. She had been uneasy about some of his past comments about women, and as the mother of a son with Down syndrome, she didn’t appreciate a 2015 video of Trump apparently mocking a disabled reporter.

But a meeting on Capitol Hill in May appeared to smooth things over, and McMorris Rodgers, the No. 4 House GOP leader, soon publicly endorsed the billionaire businessman and reality TV star.

The two met face to face again on Sunday in Bedminster. The Trump campaign said the discussion centered on a host of issues: how to optimize federal lands, energy exploration, mining, working families and greater access to services for children with special needs.

Those clues could mean Trump is considering her for Interior, Energy or Labor secretary.

Another GOP woman who could find herself in the Cabinet is Blackburn, a Tennessee conservative who leads the special House committee investigating Planned Parenthood. Blackburn is a top Trump ally who was named this month to his transition team's executive committee.

Both Blackburn and McMorris Rodgers serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Both Blackburn and McMorris Rodgers have distinguished careers as public leaders and subject matter expertise, and would bring diversity to the Cabinet,” said one House colleague who knows both women.

Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas)

McCaul, the House Homeland Security chairman for the past four years, is mulling a primary challenge to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown DNC raises million in October in best monthly haul of the year Supreme Court weighs lawsuit pitting climate scientist against skeptics MORE (R-Texas). But if offered the Homeland Security secretary post, McCaul has indicated he’d jump at the opportunity.

The challenge for the ambitious Texan is that he has some tough competition. Trump is also looking at retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly and Frances Townsend, a homeland security and counterterrorism expert who served in the George W. Bush administration, according to The Washington Post.

And Trump met this weekend with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration hard-liner who made a national name for himself authoring Arizona’s tough immigration law known as SB 1070. Before his meeting with Trump, Kobach was spotted holding his written plan for DHS, including a line that read “extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens.”

McCaul, a frequent guest on the Sunday shows, published a book in January titled “Failures of Imagination.” In it, he highlights points of vulnerabilities, including cyber and biological warfare. The artwork on his book cover: smoke billowing from the U.S. Capitol complex.

The Homeland Security Committee chairman advised Trump on national security issues during the 2016 campaign. Retiring House Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) also was part of Trump’s national security team and has been floated as a possible Veteran Affairs secretary.

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocratic strategist laments 'low bar' for Biden debate performance Harris: Buttigieg comparing 'struggles' between black, LGBTQ communities is 'a bit naive' A forgettable debate for an exhausted nation MORE (D-Hawaii)

“Shocked” is how one House Democrat described her reaction when she learned that Gabbard had met with Trump on Monday. But the rising Democratic star often has had that effect on people.

Gabbard also stunned her colleagues earlier this year when she quit her leadership post at the Democratic National Committee and endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKamala Harris receives new Iowa endorsements after debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (I-Vt.) over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic strategist laments 'low bar' for Biden debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Trump to hold campaign rally in Pennsylvania next month MORE in the Democratic presidential primary.

An Army veteran of the Iraq War who serves on both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, Gabbard was reportedly in the running to be Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations. But Trump tapped South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) for the U.N. post instead late Tuesday night.

Gabbard would be an interesting pick for Trump. She would provide both gender and racial diversity: She’s the first American-Samoan woman elected to Congress and the first Hindu member of Congress. At 35, she’s also a millennial who co-chairs the Congressional Future Caucus. And her nomination would show Trump’s willingness to reach across the aisle.

“She is clearly someone who always puts people before politics,” said Missouri Rep. Jason Smith, a new member of the GOP leadership team who belongs to a bipartisan workout group with Gabbard.

In a statement, Gabbard said she agreed to meet with Trump to discuss U.S. policy in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“This was an opportunity to advocate for peace,” she wrote in a lengthy post on Medium, “and I felt it was important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect to counteract neocons’ steady drumbeats of war, which threaten to drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report, which was updated at 7:51 a.m.