Amid the increasing numbers of those on the Right calling for House Republican Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., to be replaced, there has been talk of Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., stepping into the role.
On Monday, The Hill reported that Republican allies of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., think "[t]here is no way that Liz will be conference chair by month’s end." The same individual claimed, "[w]hen there is a vote, it won’t be a long conference; it will be fast. Everyone knows the outcome."
Given this, GOP allies are discussing alternatives to Cheney. Axios reported Monday that Stefanik is one of several congresswomen thought of as having potential to assume Cheney’s leadership role. Given that Stefanik is also notably considering a run for governor in New York, the buzz makes sense.
Axios' reporting seems to have been confirmed after Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana announced his support for Stefanik. Former President Donald J. Trump also endorsed the New York Congresswoman for GOP leadership.
But before the majority of GOP representatives designate Stefanik as the preferable successor, it is necessary to re-think if the congresswoman definitively represents the America First movement that Cheney has strictly disavowed.
Stefanik, who no doubt has been more of an America First ally than Cheney ever was, deserves to be fairly critiqued by conservatives.
According to a FiveThirtyEight poll that documented a "Trump Score" based on how members of Congress voted in relation to the president — Stefanik diverged on various occasions. While the New York representative voted in alignment with Trump 89.6 percent of the time in his first two years in office, she changed course over the next two years —very much so.
For the next two years, Stefanik’s identified "Trump Score" fell to 64.6 percent. Some of her notable dissents from the president included her vote to send funding to the U.S. Postal Service, a vote to oppose the withdrawal of troops from Syria, a vote to block Trump from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, and a vote to ban oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
All of these positions are mirrored by those on the Left.
Stefanik also voted to block Trump’s emergency funding toward border wall funding in February 2019. Along with 13 other Republicans, the congresswoman joined Democrats in challenging the notion that there was in fact a national emergency transpiring at the Southern Border — and that steps to materially protect the border were advantageous.
Stefanik argued such allocation of law and order funding did not represent her vision of being a "[c]onstitutional conservative."
In regard to Syria, it is notable that Stefanik voted not once in October 2019 — but twice against Trump’s decision to bring American troops home from Syria. She claimed she remained "deeply opposed" to the decision to contribute to stopping the forever wars and that there would be "serious consequences."
Indeed, Cheney has also been a major proponent of keeping the military overseas. After President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the Wyoming congresswoman said such actions "abandons our global leadership position."
"Wars don’t end when one side abandons the fight," Cheney added. "Withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan by September 11 will only embolden the very jihadists who attacked our homeland on that day twenty years ago. By declaring that this withdrawal is not based on conditions on the ground, the Biden Administration is sending a dangerous signal that the United States fundamentally does not understand — or is willfully ignorant of — the terrorist threat."
But back to the Paris Climate Agreement. As noted by The Heritage Foundation, the consequences of being involved are not insignificant. Economists estimated in a comprehensive report that by 2035 there could be an annual average loss of somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,000 jobs, an aggregate loss of $2.5 trillion in the GDP, and a total income lost for a family of four of over $20,000.
The agreement is costly and insufficient — especially taking into account how countries in vastly different environmental positions are advised to adhere to sets of regulations pertaining to methane, carbon dioxide, and other energy sources in similar ways.
Stefanik authored the Republican Climate Change Resolution in June 2017 and said Trump's decision to protect American business via his opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement was a "mistake."
"United States innovation and business leadership have been key drivers to lowering our carbon emissions over the last 20 years, and we should continue to have an influential seat at the table as the rest of the world addresses these issues," Stefanik said in a statement. "Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is misguided, and harms the ongoing effort to fight climate change while also isolating us from our allies.”
Perhaps Stefanik is not indubitably bound to take up the mantle as the third ranking GOP member in the House. Indeed, no decisions have been made — and there is not yet a definitive verdict as to whether or when Cheney will be ousted (or resign).
These above things are important to keep in mind, though. In a political realm where there is a clear distinction between those elected who represent the legitimate Republican base — and those who prefer to be court jesters in the Left’s kingdom — Republicans must be quite prudent when deciding who will represent its voters.
Gabe Kaminsky is an intern for The Federalist. His work has appeared in Fox News, The American Conservative, The Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, and other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @Gabe__Kaminsky or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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