Tags: Tea Party | Ted Cruz | Texas | Republicans | Ted Cruz | Tom DeLay

Texas Republicans Return to DC With Increased Clout

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 11:45 AM

Texas Republicans will be returning to Capitol Hill in January with a level of power and influence last seen after the 1994 elections when Reps. Dick Armey and Tom DeLay were cast into the national spotlight.

In the 114th Congress, Texas will send a record 25 Republicans to Washington, including Texas’ first black Republican federal lawmaker, Will Hurd, and Texans will hold the chairman's gavel on six of 21 House committees, reports Breitbart.

While the number of chairmanships may appear small, the committees will have input on significant issues from tax and immigration policy to national security issues.

Rep. Pete Sessions will retain his leadership of the House Rules Committee, the panel which determines which legislation makes it to the floor, while Rep. Mac Thornberry will chair the House Armed Services Committee, according to a list released by House Speaker John Boehner's office.

A representative from the Lone Star state will also lead the conservative agenda with the selection of Rep. Bill Flores to head the Republican Study Committee (RSC).

"It is my plan to lead the RSC as a member-driven organization which puts forth positions developed through member participation and dialogue consistent with the RSC’s mission and the U.S. Constitution," Flores told Politico in November.

The Republican caucus will officially vote on the committee chairmanships in January.

Texans will also wield power in the new GOP-governed Senate following the election of Sen. John Cornyn to the office of majority whip.

"I’m literally at the table when every important matter affecting Texas and the country is being discussed. The benefits will do nothing but increase," he told the Dallas Morning News after the November midterms.

The last Texan to hold that position was Lyndon Johnson.

The other member of Texas' Senate delegation Ted Cruz will not hold a leadership post, but he is certain to continue to make his voice heard as the de facto leader of Tea Party conservatives in the Senate.

"Ted’s going to be a leader. He’s not just going to be an agitator. But sometimes to become a leader, you’ve got to rattle the cage," said Ralph Reed, a Cruz ally and chairman of the Faith and Freedom coalition, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.

While Cornyn shares many of the same conservative views as Cruz, who has not disclosed whether he plans to vote to elect Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, the two differ greatly on strategy.

Todd Gilman of the Dallas Morning News has described them as "the highest wattage Senate duo from Texas since Phil Gramm and Lloyd Bentsen, or maybe even Sam Houston and Thomas Rusk."

While Texans dominated the leadership ranks of the Republican caucus in the 1980s with Armey and DeLay holding the role House majority leader consecutively, some tired of the state's influence, particularly after DeLay was convicted of violating campaign finance laws.

A Texas appeals court overturned the conviction in September 2013.

Some believe the new class of Republicans represents a revival of the delegation.

"There was an attitude in the House that we’ve had enough of Texas. It kind of put the Texas delegation in the dog house with the rest of Congress," former Rep. Armey told the Longview News-Journal.

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Texas Republicans will be returning to Capitol Hill in January with a level of power and influence last seen after the 1994 elections when Reps. Dick Armey and Tom DeLay were cast into the national spotlight.
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Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 11:45 AM
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