Paul Ryan’s First Prescription for What Ails the GOP: More Meetings

The new speaker wants the Freedom Caucus, RSC, and Tuesday Group to meet weekly to hash out their differences.

Tuesday Group Chairman Rep. Charlie Dent, shown with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Nov. 5, 2015, 12:44 p.m.

Speak­er Paul Ry­an has prom­ised a more in­clus­ive House and a less di­vided Re­pub­lic­an Party. One of his first steps to­ward achiev­ing that? More meet­ings.

Ry­an has called for a weekly huddle to dis­cuss the is­sues of the day among some of the House Re­pub­lic­ans’ most in­flu­en­tial caucuses—the cent­rist Tues­day Group, the con­ser­vat­ive House Free­dom Caucus, and the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, the largest GOP caucus.

“Speak­er Ry­an be­lieves the con­fer­ence is strongest when it’s uni­fied. To have a more in­clus­ive speak­er­ship, he has pulled to­geth­er a group of mem­bers rep­res­ent­ing the ma­jor Re­pub­lic­an caucuses,” Ry­an spokes­wo­man Ash­Lee Strong said.

The weekly lunch meet­ing will start the week after next and in­clude rep­res­ent­at­ives from lead­er­ship as well as each group: Free­dom Caucus Chair­man Jim Jordan, RSC Chair­man Bill Flores, and Tues­day Group Chair­man Charlie Dent, or one of their lieu­ten­ants. They will also in­clude in­flu­en­tial mem­bers from around the con­fer­ence, in­clud­ing some of Ry­an’s most trus­ted hands, such as Fin­an­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jeb Hensarling, Budget Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tom Price, and Rep. Kristi Noem, vice chair­wo­man of the Re­pub­lic­an Wo­men’s Policy Com­mit­tee. The meet­ings could in­clude more mem­bers.

“The think­ing is, we can pre­hash these prob­lems out be­fore they go to com­mit­tee or come to the floor then we can have bet­ter out­comes,” Flores said. “If the RSC is pro­mot­ing something le­gis­lat­ively and the Tues­day Group is hav­ing a prob­lem with it, Charlie and I can look each oth­er in the eye and say, ‘Hey, let’s find the 80 per­cent we agree on and fig­ure out how we deal with the 20 per­cent we don’t.’”

The meet­ings could have a co­rol­lary be­ne­fit: pre­vent­ing the kinds of pub­lic blowups between Re­pub­lic­an mod­er­ates and con­ser­vat­ives that have marred the past sev­er­al years.

The meet­ings come after late last month, ahead of Ry­an’s elec­tion as speak­er, mem­bers of the Free­dom Caucus and Tues­day Group met be­hind closed doors to start a dia­logue and dis­cuss pro­ced­ur­al re­forms that mem­bers have been seek­ing.

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