Roll Call reports that the “center-right” Tuesday Group took the “lion’s share” of new slots on the powerful House Republican Steering Committee–but that didn’t prevent House Freedom Caucus member and Tea Party Caucus chair Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., from calling his election a big victory for Conservatives.
Huelskamp, also the chairman of the Tea Party Caucus, is the only member of the House Freedom Caucus to win a Steering seat.
Huelskamp released the following official statement:
The outcome today is a victory for conservatives in the House, and I am grateful for this opportunity.
I thank Speaker Ryan for following through on his reform promises. With these changes to the influential Steering Committee, my colleagues have sent a strong message that they’re listening to the conservative heart of the party.
In one month alone, we’re seeing the move toward a more transparent Congress. Members and committees are more empowered and involved. Leadership is listening and we’re going to get more done for the American people in 2016.
However, Huelskamp also touched upon a bit of history involving former Speaker John Boehner in addressing the issue today on Facebook:
Today my colleagues elected me to the powerful Steering Committee that former Speaker Boehner used to strip my committee assignments 3 years ago. It’s a great victory for conservatives.
In fact, as Roll Call points out, “The conservative House Freedom Caucus was the first faction to start pushing leadership to expand diversity on the House Republican Steering Committee, but it was the center-right Tuesday Group that ended up winning the lion’s share of the influential panel’s six open seats”.
As recently as October, now House Speaker Paul Ryan was courting the Freedom Caucus for their support for Speaker. Today’s announcement would seem to be inline with at least one of those promises.
Among the things that Ryan promised the members were a return to regular order, changes to the steering committee that decides committee assignments centralizing power in the Speaker’s office—Ryan even promised to give up the Speaker’s five votes on the committee—and an end to retaliation against Republican members who vote their conscience.
A House GOP aide said that Huelskamp was the second-highest vote-getter among the new Steering Committee members, marking a significant turn around in the way the House operates.
Scott Wong of The Hill Tweeted out the full list of appointees, with still more here via Roll Call.
Six new GOP Steering Committee members just elected: Brooks, Huelskamp, Rogers, Smith, Upton, Cole
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) December 10, 2015
— AshLee Strong (@AshLeeStrong) December 10, 2015