The Republican Party has moved slightly to the right with the election of Kevin McCarthy as House Majority Leader and Steve Scalise as House Majority Whip, renowned economist and CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow says.
"The interesting part of this is Steve Scalise. He's a southern Republican, he's a conservative Republican, he represents Republican Study Group,'' Kudlow told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"So the center of gravity [of the GOP] moves slightly to the right on this. Not gigantic step to the right — because it's a conservative caucus to begin with — but slightly to the right.''
Scalise represents the First District of Louisiana and McCarthy represents the 23rd District of California.
"A lot of the members wanted a southerner. They felt they were not represented properly,'' Kudlow said of Scalise.
"Steve Scalise is really becoming a star…. He is going to be a force. His job is not going to be policymaker, but he's a very knowledgeable guy about policy and I doubt if this will be his ceiling. I doubt if this will be his limit. If he stays as a House member, he'll go higher.''
Kudlow sees very little change between the leadership style of McCarthy and that of his predecessor Eric Cantor, who stepped down following an unexpected primary defeat in Virginia.
"There's no gigantic shift here. I don't think there's going to be much difference,'' he said.
"Bear in mind, the role of majority leader is in some sense a super whip role. It may not be a policy making position. That's really done by the speaker and another person whose name hasn't come up yet, and that's [Rep.] Paul Ryan [of Wisconsin].
"Paul Ryan is the single most important policy influence on the Republican caucus. I think he's going to be the Ways and Means chairman; he's going to be pushing tax reform in a very big way, pro-growth tax reforms.''
Kudlow said the current Iraqi crisis has not affected oil prices as yet, but that may not last.
"I wish I knew and I wish the president knew exactly what his policy is regarding Iraq.''
"Where's his [Henry] Kissinger, for God's sake?'' he said, referring to the famed secretary of State who served under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
"[Obama] is not a foreign policy expert and most of what he's touched in foreign policy has turned to stone and I fear that his management of policy in Iraq is also going to turn to stone.
"There has not been any big move in the oil markets here in the U.S. … The oil fields are intact, that's the best I can say and our markets are shrugging it off right now.''
Kudlow also pooh-poohed the bipartisan proposal in the Senate to raise the gas tax by 12 cents over a two-year period.
"Slapping a gas tax on right now would be a very bad idea in my opinion, a very bad idea,'' he said.
"Why do I have to penalize motorists? Why is that? I want growth. We should be looking at major slashing of the corporate income tax right now, we should be repatriating profits from overseas to invest.
"We should be lowering regulations right now, we should be promising flat tax reform for individuals, we should have a pro-business administration so we can get long term investment and jobs — that's what we need."
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