House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, a key member of Speaker John Boehner's leadership team, is hiring a top policy adviser from the Heritage Foundation in a bid to strengthen relationships with congressional conservatives who have come to be a thorn in their side on tactical policy issues.
Mike Franc, Heritage's vice president of congressional relations, was chosen to take up the gauntlet due to his close personal relationships with conservative lawmakers and his solid policy experience,Politico reported.
A veteran adviser to former House majority leader Dick Armey and many conservatives on the Hill, Franc is expected to use his gravitas to help smooth the way for compromises on the budget, debt ceiling, and immigration, and is also expected to offer legislative advice on managing responses to the Obama administration scandals.
Franc will have "credibility with members on Day One," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican. He gets rave reviews from other House members as well.
"Kevin [McCarthy] has phenomenal member relationships and great political knowledge," said one McCarthy insider. "He's also got a solid policy foundation, but the addition of Mike Franc to his staff will improve the whip team's overall ability to make sure legislation is moving in the right direction, and thus improve Kevin's ability to broadly impact outcomes."
This will be Franc's third stint on Capitol Hill, having spent most of his career at the Heritage Foundation, where he ran House outreach before taking over the organization's overall congressional outreach, Politico reported. Franc appears optimistic about the prospects of bridging the divide between conservatives and the leadership.
"A lot of these differences that you're referring to tend to be less on the substantive side and more in the tactical," Franc said in an interview with Politico. "And people disagree how to play poker, but they agree they want to win the game."
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