Elbows fly in jostle for top GOP leadership posts – By JAKE SHERMAN 09/28/15 08:04 PM EDT Updated 09/28/15 09:15 PM EDT

The fractured Republican conference will meet twice Tuesday to try to chart a path forward.


As he launched a bid for House majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) had his staff huddle with more than 100 D.C. lobbyists to tout his fundraising successes. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) has rolled out a series of high-profile endorsements as he tries to knock off his fellow Southerner for the No. 2 job.

And Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is positioning himself as willing to be confrontational with Democrats — but able to heal what ails his party.

Speaker John Boehner resigned less than a week ago, but frenzied campaigns have broken out already to replace him and fill the party’s other top leadership slots. Four positions could open up, and the House Republican Conference is filled with courtship, intrigue and one-upmanship.

But the leadership aspirants are about to walk into a buzz saw.

The GOP Conference will meet twice Tuesday, including at a rare evening session to try to chart a path forward for its fractured party.

The 5 p.m. meeting has been billed as a discussion about the “strategy going forward,” and the outsize personalities in the room will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about how the party’s House strategy should change. Staff will not be permitted in the session.


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Inside the GOP’s budget drama – By Bernie Becker and Vicki Needham – 03/20/15 06:00 AM EDT

Getty Images

Getty Images

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) had wanted to avoid any embarrassing snafus when the new GOP budget hit the floor.

Instead, he found trouble a week early.

Scalise and GOP leaders found themselves on their heels late Wednesday evening, after Budget Chairman Tom Price’s (R-Ga.) first budget markup screeched to a sudden and unexpected halt.

Lawmakers filed out of the hearing room, going behind closed doors to talk over provision that would allow more defense spending to add to the deficit.

Scalise and his chief deputy, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), had canvassed Budget Committee Republicans and thought the provision would help win over defense hawks, securing enough votes for the budget to clear both the panel and the full House next week

Price, meanwhile, had been insisting that there wasn’t enough GOP support to pass the amendment eventually offered by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.).

As it turned out, the amendment failed despite the intervention of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who wasn’t able to sway a handful of skeptical deficit hawks.

The late-night drama raised more questions about the vote-counting skills of Scalise — who this time had trouble not with the 218 votes needed to get a bill through the House, but the 19 needed to ensure the budget passed through committee.

GOP leaders to skip Selma event – By Anna Palmer and Lauren French 3/5/15 5:20 PM EST Updated 3/5/15 11:19 PM EST

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21:  U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) speaks as House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (C) and House Majority Whip  Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) (R) listen during a briefing to members of the media after a House Republican Caucus meeting January 21, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House GOP leadership briefed the media on their responses to President Obamas State of the Union address the night before.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership — a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders.

None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.

“It is very disappointing that not a single Republican leader sees the value in participating in this 50th commemoration of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. I had hoped that some of the leadership would attend, but apparently none of them will,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. “The Republicans always talk about trying to change their brand and be more appealing to minority folks and be in touch with the interests of African-Americans. This is very disappointing.”

Former CBC Chair Marsha Fudge (D-Ohio) agreed.

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/gop-leaders-to-skip-selma-event-115801.html#ixzz3Tb1lkUDO

Steve Scalise still mending fences – By Lauren French and Anna Palmer 2/17/15 5:34 AM EST Updated 2/17/15 5:34 AM EST

The House GOP whip is meeting with black lawmakers and others who were offended by his 2002 speech to a white supremacist group.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., leaves the chamber after the House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. The Republican-controlled House voted along party lines to repeal the health care law that stands as President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, but this time the bill carried instructions for several committees to replace

Steve Scalise is on a non-apology apology tour.

Seven weeks after coming under fire for giving a 2002 speech to a group associated with white supremacists, the House’s No. 3 Republican is meeting with key members of the Congressional Black Caucus, conferring with civil rights leaders and trying to forge relationship with reporters — though it’s unclear if that will be enough to fix what could have been potentially career-ending damage.

One of the people he’s met with, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, expressed frustration that the Louisiana Republican hasn’t committed to attending next month’s 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama.

Scalise allies insist he is not mounting a formal mea culpa. He expressed regret after the scandal initially broke in late December, but now allies say the House majority whip is just working to build new bonds on Capitol Hill and granting meetings with those who ask.

The people he’s sat down with include black lawmakers who were deeply offended by the revelation that as a state legislator he had given the speech to a conference associated with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. That was followed by last month’s news that in 1996 Scalise had also opposed a state legislative resolution apologizing for slavery.

Butterfield, a Democratic House member from North Carolina, said last weekthat Scalise is “going to have to determine how to repair the damage that’s been done.”

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/steve-scalise-white-supremacist-speech-115222.html#ixzz3S05agGbD

Lawmakers reflect on ‘no’ votes on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – By Ben Kamisar – 01/18/15 04:00 PM EST

Race relations have been central to political debates in recent months, from the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers in New York and Missouri to the recent revelation that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke to a white supremacist group back in 2002.

Race relations have been central to political debates in recent months, from the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers in New York and Missouri to the recent revelation that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke to a white supremacist group back in 2002.

The additional detail that Scalise also once voted against making Martin Luther King Day a holiday has reopened an old debate.

The King holiday used to be controversial, only passing the House more than ten years after Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) filed the first bill calling for a day to commemorate the slain civil rights icon. The measure eventually passed in 1983. Ninety representatives and 22 senators voted against it.

The debate is now essentially settled. Lawmakers typically spend their Martin Luther King holidays back at home with constituents, attending memorial events and touting the nation’s progress.

There are only six current members of Congress who previously voted against creating a national holiday for King. Another small handful did so at the state level.

The six who cast votes against the national holiday are all Republicans: Sens. Richard Shelby (Ala.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John McCain (Ariz.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah), as well as Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) and Hal Rogers (Ky.). Shelby cast his vote as a Democrat, before he switched parties.

Steve Klein, a spokesman for the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, said that the dwindling number of lawmakers opposing the holiday shows progress.

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GOP closes ranks around Scalise – By Ben Kamisar – 12/30/14 07:14 PM EST

House GOP leaders are closing ranks around Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), defending him from calls for his resignation after he admitted speaking to a white supremacist group in 2002.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both released near simultaneous statements on Tuesday, supporting Scalise and praising his character. Boehner even went on to say that he has “my full confidence as our Whip.”

Scalise, the No. 3 GOP leader, on Tuesday released a new statement acknowledging a speech he gave to a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

He called the speech a “mistake I regret” and strongly condemned the group’s message.

Even though they’re coalescing around Scalise, the story is still an unwelcome headache for Republican leadership. Ahead of the 114th Congress’s arrival next week, they wanted the narrative to focus on the largest House GOP majority since World War II partnering with a new Senate majority to craft a unified agenda to buck President Obama.

Boehner and McCarthy’s statements also leave room for a change of heart. If the story dies down, Scalise will most likely survive. But if more damaging stories start to trickle out the GOP leader could be back on the hot seat — just like former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (La.), who resigned from leadership in 2002 under pressure over racially-charged comments.

Because the comments touch on race, they have the potential to do damage to the GOP brand at a time when the party is gearing up to attract more supporters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

House Republicans are hoping to showcase a more diverse membership when the 114th Congress gavels in next week. The GOP will welcome the first black female GOP lawmaker in party history, Mia Love (R-Utah). Fellow freshman Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) will join her as the only two black Republican lawmakers in the House.

After the midterm elections, Scalise touted the incoming GOP freshmen as “a great new diverse group of members.”

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Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Could Choose the Next House Majority Whip – Lee Fang on June 18, 2014 – 4:15 PM ET

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Eggborough Power Station emissions, October 2007 (John Giles/PA Wire URN:7165395)

This post was originally published at RepublicReport.org

Eric Cantor’s surprise defeat in the Republican primary, and subsequent decision to step down as majority leader, has set off a scramble within his party. The current whip, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is widely perceived as the next majority leader, while Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) are rounding up votes to take McCarthy’s place as whip.

Though there are negligible policy differences between the candidates, particularly on energy issues, one candidate is particularly close to the fossil fuel lobby: Steve Scalise, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of likeminded conservative members, who represents an area of the Gulf Coast with a large concentration of offshore oil jobs.

A number of former Scalise staffers are now employed as lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry. Megan Bel, Scalise’s former legislative director, now works for the National Ocean Industries Association, a trade group for offshore oil drilling companies. Stephen Bell, Scalise’s longtime spokesperson, joined the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association—a group that represents largely coal-fire power plants and has lobbied aggressively against the EPA’s new carbon rules—in April.

Scalise has cultivated political support from Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, and Halliburton as part of the Republican Study Committee’s business outreach effort, according to a report in Politico. Notably, a Republican Study Committee outreach meeting with lobbyists occurred in the office of Shockey Scofield Solutions, Koch’s lobbying firm registered to defeat new carbon tax proposals.

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