For Republicans in the House, it’s game on within the Republican Conference for the next leader of their party. It is a given that the Freedom Caucus will play a role in determining the next leader, but will they face resistance from the Tuesday Group, for example. As we have seen in the past, in leadership races, a single vote can determine the outcome of an election and that is why the leverage of each member is greater than at any other time. I would not bet against a dark horse candidate entering the race and shaking the “establishment” and extracting some concessions, whether on expanding the leadership table or changing conference rules.
For outside groups, this is a watershed moment. Whether you are on the right, left, middle, aligned with President Trump or representing industry interests or public interests, your organization needs to weigh in with anyone who will listen. Many groups and organizations will activate their membership for or against a candidate with others trying to avoid being pulled into the fray. They will drive membership and donations. Get ready for your inbox to be filled.
For businesses, corporations, non-profits, and public-sector entities with interests before Congress, chances of meaningful action in the next six months in the Legislative Branch has become that much more stark. What remains is the ability of Congress to conduct hearings, perhaps pass already agreed upon bills, and seek to drive national messages geared toward 2018. So, expect to witness a larger than usual number of votes on “message bills” that will be used as leverage points by those running for the leadership post and trying to connect with the conference on the path to retaining their majority.
For Democrats, they are not spiking the ball. Seven months is a lifetime in politics. While this is another sign that the electoral trends are moving toward Democrats in the House, there is much more work to be done before Election Day.
For President Trump, we will have to wait for the tweet. As for his Administration, it will continue to take whatever action in the regulatory space to advance his and GOP priorities. That’s where the action and attention will focus.
On a personal note, I have worked with Speaker Ryan and his staff during my tenure as Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff, and I have nothing but praise for their professionalism and toughness. I thank the Speaker for his kind and thoughtful words on my retirement on the House Floor after Leader Pelosi spoke.
It was no secret that Speaker Ryan was the reluctant Speaker, but he was the chosen one by his Party and he served. Now let the electoral gamesmanship begin.