Undoubtedly this rent in the GOP’s former unity will get as much airtime as squabbles over Democratic leadership positions.
Tiahrt’s run for head of the conservative caucus in the House may tear the GOP asunder before the new session begins:
A major fight is brewing among conservatives in the House to elect the next chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) have been calling members of the increasingly influential committee to ask for their support in the election next Wednesday. ?
Hensarling led a small band of upstarts who, over the past two years, have waged public battles with the leadership over revised budget rules and federal funding for the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast. The Texas Republican also backed Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in his confrontation with appropriators last summer over earmarks included in spending bills that reached the House floor.
Many staffers consider Tiahrt, an appropriator, as the leadership-backed candidate who would mute the influence of conservative agitators as Republicans try to unite in the minority.
?It?s an effort to neuter the RSC,? one aide said. ?It?s an effort to split the powerbase.? ?
There is grumbling that some members may leave the RSC if Tiahrt wins, creating an early divide among Republicans in the minority.
The Republican Study Committee is the caucus of roughly 100 conservative Republicans that virtually ran the House Republican agenda since 1994. It’s collapse would free many moderate Republicans to seek new legislative options, and would make it harder for conservatives to force their colleagues into line.