Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the Republican Study Committee is spearheading a move to circulate a petition seeking a special meeting of the House Republican Conference to approve an “action plan” for House Republicans. Fifty signatures are needed to require the conference to hold such a meeting. The strongly conservative group supports an agenda that includes an end to pork-barrel spending, a simplified tax code, and more oil exploration.
“The time has come to be bold,” RSC’s petition states. “The time has come to move beyond empty political rhetoric and to revitalize our contract with the American people. We will provide hardworking Americans with innovative solutions to the problems that they face everyday.”
My comment: Hensarling is one of the few members of the Republican delegation with growth potential. With the Republicans in the minority and likely to lose more seats, Texans who were influential in the recent past, such as Joe Barton, of Ennis, and Lamar Smith, of San Antonio, have ceded much of their influence. Barton, who was chairman of the heavyweight Commerce committee, was expected to leave Congress to lobby, since he was term-limited as chairman, but with Democrats running the show, he is not so much in demand. Smith is ranking member of Judiciary, which means that he is in line for the chairmanship when the pendulum swings back to Republicans. The savvy Kenny Marchant, of Coppell, had the misfortune to arrive in the House one redistricting cycle too late; his best chance is that the GOP doldrums will bring about enough defeats and retirements to move him up the seniority ladder. Pete Sessions, of Dallas, and Kay Granger, of Fort Worth, both have statewide ambitions; the latter has expressed interest in running for the Senate when Kay Bailey Hutchison steps down. Otherwise, it’s slim pickings. Michael McCaul, of Austin, is the only recently elected member besides Hensarling with a bright future–assuming that he can continue be reelected from Travis County (and Harris, and everything in between).