Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Sen. Ron Johnson

Senate conservatives get their first shot to shape the post-McConnell era

Republican senators who tried to oust Mitch McConnell will soon have their first chance to shape the battle to replace him as their party’s leader.

GOP senators are scheduled to meet behind closed doors at 3:30 p.m. in an effort by conservatives to ensure that McConnell’s successor breaks from the Kentucky Republican’s leadership style.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who led the push for the meeting today, told us he expects it to be just the first step in a months-long process.

“I’ve not been satisfied with the governing model, which has been pretty much what one person says it is,” said Johnson, a vocal McConnell critic. “To the extent we have a strategy, it’s what’s in that one person’s head. [He] doesn’t share it with the rest of us until it’s too late to change course. That’s got to change.”

Johnson said the GOP Conference has been “grotesquely dysfunctional” as of late and wants the leadership candidates to “be engaged in developing” a mission statement for the conference. Johnson and other conservatives bash McConnell for being willing to cut deals with Democrats that only require a handful of GOP votes for passage. And they want the eventual GOP leader to focus on countering Democrats’ policy efforts, rather than helping advance them.

That’s an unmistakable message to those running for GOP leader. So far, there are just two declared candidates — Senate Minority Whip John Thune and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Others could jump into the race at some point, including Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

Senators also told us they expect potential changes to the conference’s rules to come up at today’s session, such as term limits for the party leader and the ability of senators to offer amendments. All of the candidates for various leadership positions have emphasized the need to democratize the GOP Conference — in other words, spread the power and influence around.

Thune and Cornyn said they plan to simply listen during Wednesday’s meeting. Neither seemed exactly sure about what could be brought up.

“I don’t really know,” Thune told us. “I assume we’ll talk a little bit about the process. We have some folks interested in a mission statement of some sort. So we’ll see where it goes. I think it… sounds fairly open-ended at this point.”

— Andrew Desiderio

Presented by The Coalition to Project American Jobs

It’s taking the IRS years to process a small business tax credit. 1M+ small business owners who filed for the Employee Retention Credit are stuck in backlog or waiting on payment for their claims. Tell the IRS to lift the moratorium now.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.