Emmer wrangles House GOP votes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The way in which Republican Rep. Tom Emmer tells it, the lousiest job he ever had — he has a saltier approach of describing it — was working the Home Republican marketing campaign committee.

However after having helped lead his occasion again into management of the Home in November, the previous youth hockey coach now should spherical up votes from these Republicans, as the bulk whip, in an effort to move GOP priorities.

Corralling colleagues for his or her help on the debt ceiling, spending cuts and investigating the Biden administration might be robust work for the third-ranking chief who has served in Congress since 2015. With Republicans holding solely 222 seats within the 435-member Home, nearly everybody is required to succeed in the 218 votes wanted for approving most payments.

Simply agreeing to elect California Rep. Kevin McCarthy because the Home speaker took 15 ballots.

Emmer was a central negotiator in that effort, hammering out the side-deal to win over holdouts after countless conferences in his first-floor workplace on the Capitol. It was a crash-course for the finances battles and showdowns forward.

A have a look at how the rough-and-tumble Minnesotan advised The Related Press he plans to deal with the job.


Earlier than becoming a member of Congress, Emmer was a lawyer and state legislator. A few of his most relevant skilled expertise, nonetheless, comes from teaching hockey.

When McCarthy did not win the speaker’s race on the primary votes, Emmer convened the holdouts in his nonetheless new Capitol workplace, so naked there are not any photos hanging on the partitions.

“Good groups are all the time going to have variations of opinion,” Emmer mentioned. “When you don’t allow them to specific that, you’re by no means going to succeed.”

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Emmer advised the story of a fabled hockey coach who would let gamers combat it out throughout practices — nearly encouraging it, he mentioned — a lot the way in which Republicans practically got here to blows on the Home ground in the course of the speaker’s election.

“You understand what, these guys truly turn into nearer,” Emmer mentioned.



Emmer isn’t a part of the conservative Home Freedom Caucus. In truth, some Republicans didn’t assume he was conservative sufficient for the management submit.

However he received his personal inner GOP election to turn into the whip, brushing again two challengers. When it got here time to dealer the deal for McCarthy’s election, Emmer needed to win over a few of those self same conservative holdouts.

One of many many key concessions McCarthy made to earn the votes of his detractors was a dedication to return to federal spending to 2022 finances ranges. Cuts of that measurement would quantity to an 8% discount in home protection, veterans and home accounts — or much more, 17%, if the Pentagon cash is spared.

The Republicans additionally agreed to purpose for a balanced finances in 10 years.

From Emmer’s standpoint, a lot of what was agreed to with the holdouts is “aspirational.”

“Some would possibly criticize me after I say it’s an aspirational doc as a result of they assume it’s greater than that, and so they’re proper,” Emmer mentioned. “As a result of we now have to carry ourselves to this.”



One of many largest challenges Emmer will face is rounding up the votes for the approaching debt ceiling showdown.

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Congress is being requested by the Treasury Division to lift the nation’s debt cap so it could possibly borrow extra money to repay the nation’s already accruing payments.

Home Republicans insist they won’t raise that restrict with out modifications in the way in which the federal authorities spends cash — more than likely, cuts in spending ranges. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen mentioned in an Related Press interview Saturday that she expects Congress will finally vote to extend the cap. However she mentioned GOP calls for for spending cuts in return for backing a rise are “a really irresponsible factor to do” and danger making a “self-imposed calamity” for the worldwide financial system.

It is a repeat from the battles Republicans waged final time that they had the Home majority, when then-Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have been the audio system in the course of the Obama and Trump administrations. In these days the Republicans tried to curb federal spending, with some success, but additionally with failures that upset the suitable flank.

These decades-old spending battles simmer on Capitol Hill, particularly for conservatives, which is why the Freedom Caucus and others drove such a tough cut price with McCarthy in the course of the speaker’s race.

“Plenty of it was character points which have in all probability been pushed from way back to when John Boehner was the speaker after which Paul Ryan,” Emmer mentioned about dynamics.

“And there’s simply been quite a bit during the last a number of years.”



Republicans have completely different views in terms of what spending to chop as they attempt to use the debt ceiling vote to extract their very own finances priorities.

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Whereas some say they need to see all spending on the desk for evaluate, Emmer is amongst those that consider protection ought to largely be spared.

“The argument is should you go to FY22 baseline, it impacts each home and protection — not underneath Republicans,” he mentioned, referring to 2022 finances ranges. “Republicans will search for efficiencies, they’ll search for waste. We aren’t reducing protection. We assured our appropriators and ask our Home Armed Providers Committee. That’s not what we’re doing.”



Having helped to elect the category of latest Home Republicans, Emmer now should assist lead them.

The rationale he did not like his outdated marketing campaign chairman job was as a result of he needed to be the “assault canine,” as he put it, all the time on offense. He additionally had to offer fairly a little bit of customer support to the Republican candidates. He twice ran the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee.

The GOP whip’s job?

“Opposite to in style perception, it’s quite a bit the identical,” he mentioned — numerous listening and plenty of responding.

“The beauty of having 222 (Home Republicans) is each voice issues,” he mentioned. “So that you respect everyone, you respect their opinion. Don’t should agree with them. You don’t even have to love them. That’s not the difficulty. However it’s a must to respect them.”

And so what is the technique for passing the debt ceiling or the spending payments?

“I am going to let our members inform you a plan,” Emmer mentioned. “Our job is to be sure that as soon as that plan is prepared for primetime, we get it throughout the end line.”