House Repub­li­cans come out swing­ing Party el­e­vates the young and the ag­gres­sive

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Christina Bellantoni

House Repub­li­cans have cho­sen lead­ers who aren’t afraid to at­tack Democrats to serve in key po­si­tions for the 110th Congress, sug­gest­ing that the ci­vil­ity on Capi­tol Hill may not last long.

Repub­li­cans say they have ev­ery in­ten­tion of fight­ing tough to re­gain power.

For ex­am­ple, Rep. Pa­trick T. McHenry of North Carolina, be­gin­ning his sec­ond term, was re­cently named to serve as a mem­ber of the deputy Repub­li­can whip team, typ­i­cally made up of more se­nior law­mak­ers. Con­sid­ered one of the party’s up-and­com­ers, the 31-year-old is known for his fre­quent tongue-lash­ings aimed at Democrats.

“I will not hes­i­tate to point out their hypocrisy and their un­will­ing­ness to live by their own cam­paign pledges,” said Mr. McHenry, the youngest mem­ber of Congress. “I’ll work to get our con­ser­va­tive ideas en­acted into law and stop the bad things the Democrats want to do to our coun­try.”

Mi­nor­ity Whip Roy Blunt of Mis­souri held noth­ing back when he crit­i­cized Democrats for not al­low­ing Repub­li­can amend­ments on their “first 100 hours” agenda. He said the new ma­jor­ity party mem­bers were be­ing disin­gen­u­ous when they promised bi­par­ti­san spirit.

“Un­for­tu­nately, so far, we don’t see much of that part­ner­ship,” Mr. Blunt said on Jan. 9. “It’s a sort of a check-is-in-the-mail approach to the things the Amer­i­can peo­ple have been told and what we’ve been told.”

The Repub­li­cans are also quick to note Democrats’ use of un­fair tac­tics — such as not sub­ject­ing their open­ing leg­isla­tive pack­age to com­mit­tee hear­ings — but did not ac­knowl­edge that they used the same strat­egy for years.

“It’s a shame that the agenda they cam­paigned on so pub­licly is be­ing put to­gether so se­cretly,” said Rep. Adam H. Put­nam of Florida, chair­man of the House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence.

Repub­li­cans say Mr. Put­nam, 32, has fire in his belly and a hunger to re­turn to the ma­jor­ity. And they say what Mr. McHenry lacks in age he makes up for in en­ergy and bark.

“We will hold their feet to the fire, just as ours were,” Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Vice Chair­man Kay Granger of Texas said of the Democrats. “Pa­trick will be a good mes­sen­ger for that.”

As one of sev­eral deputy whips, Mr. McHenry will aid Mr. Blunt and Chief Deputy Repub­li­can Whip Eric Can­tor of Vir­ginia in help­ing to track votes on leg­is­la­tion and push­ing mi­nor­i­ty­party leg­is­la­tion.

As for last week, Repub­li­cans adopted a re­frain of com­plaint, say­ing the open­ing hours of the 110th Congress have been un­fair and smack of po­lit­i­cal de­sign.

It was “truly a shame” that Democrats turned the Septem­ber 11 com­mis­sion de­bate into a “par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal tool,” lamented Rep. Ileana Ros-Le­hti­nen of Florida.

Rep. David Dreier of Cal­i­for­nia had some fun as he man­aged the op­po­si­tion time on the floor, call­ing Repub­li­cans the “strug­gling mi­nor­ity.”

“I’m lov­ing my role here in the mi­nor­ity, Madame Speaker,” he said, later hand­ing the floor to one of his col­leagues.

“I yield to the for­mer chair­man and fu­ture chair­man of the com­mit­tee on ap­pro­pri­a­tions,” Mr. Dreier said, hardly able to sti­fle a laugh as he in­tro­duced Repub­li­can Rep. Jerry Lewis, a fel­low Cal­i­for­nian.

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