Government

Connie Mack Running for No. 5 House Leadership Post

Florida Republican takes on Tom Price of Georgia for policy post
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: November 4, 2010 3:30 PM
Connie Mack Closeup

Connie Mack

With Republicans controlling the U.S. House after the elections Tuesday, the infighting has begun with congressional leaders jockeying for position -- including a Florida Republican looking to move up in the ranks.

Sunshine State Republican Connie Mack, a United States representative who is a possible U.S. Senate candidate in 2012, announced Thursday he will run for chairmanship of the House Republican Policy Committee (RPC) -- the No. 5 position in the House leadership. The committee -- and by proxy, its chairman -- play a large role in crafting legislation.

“The American people spoke loud and clear on Tuesday,” said Mack as he announced his bid. “They are tired of the big-government policies of the last several years, and they want a return to the principles that make our nation strong: limited government, personal freedoms, and free-market ideals.  Right now, with a new dawn in Washington, the Republican Policy Committee has a unique opportunity to cultivate conservative ideas that will move our nation forward.

“I am running for chairman of the Republican Policy Committee to help develop those ideas and follow through on the Republican conference’s 'Pledge to America,'” added Mack. “By bringing together various perspectives and allowing ideas to flourish, we can harness the energy of our country and our conference to enact thoughtful ideas that get back to our nation’s founding principles.”

Mack sent out a letter to his fellow Republicans announcing his candidacy and asking for their votes.

“I am writing today to humbly seek your support to be your next Republican Policy Committee chairman,” he wrote. “This was a tremendous election in which the American people removed the shackles of big government, and restored themselves as the true source of our nation’s power.”

“The Obama administration’s failed policies have reawakened America’s eternal belief that freedom is the core of all human progress,” Mack wrote. “And they want conservative policies and conservative leadership dedicated to meaningful change. Now that we have been granted a second chance to lead, we must not fail. The RPC will be the tip of our conference’s spear. As chairman, I will lead this invigorated, motivated committee of men and women who share my goal of advancing freedom, security, and prosperity.”

My vision for the Republican Policy Committee is simple: The RPC must become the cultivator of conservative ideas.”

Mack called for the committee to be used as a forum to hammer down differences in the Republican ranks, and a place to reach out to fellow members of Congress and integrate outside ideas.

“This election has demonstrated once again that those who do not listen will be defeated,” noted Mack. “We lost the majority four years ago when we lost our ability to listen. The Democrats lost Tuesday for the same reason. To ensure that the RPC keeps its ear to the ground, I will host monthly forums with members of the media, industry, and citizen groups. ...”

While he noted that he is open to ideas, Mack insisted that Republicans cannot retreat from some principles on international issues and extending the tax cuts backed by George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003.

Mack has opposition from an already established member of the House Republican leadership, U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia. Price, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, which had more than 100 members in the last session, announced Wednesday that he is running for the post.

“Governing is a huge challenge and awesome responsibility,” said Price when he made his announcement. “House Republicans are a remarkably talented group of people, and I have no doubt that we are up to the task. Providing an opportunity for our Republican principles to shine through our policy discussions and presentations is one of the keys to regaining the trust of the American people. This is why it is so important to have a vibrant and active Policy Committee.”

Added Price, “If given the privilege and honor of holding this elected position during the 112th Congress, I pledge to ensure that the RPC serves a central role in a new majority as an incubator of bold, forward-thinking policy initiatives.”

But there are critics of the committee -- including the congressman who chairs it. U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter currently heads up the RPC and argued that Republicans need to lead by example and scrap the idea, arguing it is a waste of money and can save taxpayers more than $350,000 a year. The current leadership, including incoming U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. supports keeping the committee in place.

With Price expected to run for the post, Mack has work to do and not much time to do it in if he wants to catch up to the Georgian. The election of the RPC chairman and other House leadership posts is expected to take place in the week of Nov. 15, giving Mack two weeks to round up as many supporters as he can.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


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