Scalise makes his bid to become House Majority Leader; writes letter to GOP colleagues
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana entered the room to greet supporters after easily winning re-election on Tuesday (Nov. 8), Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto introduced Scalise and added a title to his name.
“I’d like to introduce you to our congressman but next Majority Leader, Steve Scalise,” said Lopinto to cheers.
Long before election day, there was buzz that Scalise would become House Majority Leader if Republicans win more seats in the House than Democrats and become the majority.
Scalise told FOX 8 News on election night that he has no doubt his party will control the House. And it appears that the GOP is on track to do that however, not all House races have been called.
“I’m highly confident,” said Scalise.
So Scalise has written a letter to his Republican colleagues asking for their support as he makes his bid to become the number two in GOP House leadership.
“I am asking for your support to be the next House Majority Leader,” wrote Scalise. “You know my leadership style that I’ve displayed as your Whip for the last eight years.” During his one-on-one interview with FOX 8, he discussed some of the responsibilities of the Majority Leader.
“Well, you know, the Majority Leader gets to set the schedule for the floor for the House of Representatives, so just to be able to control the direction that the country takes, what bills come up in the House of Representatives,” Scalise said.
The hierarchy of the House is: House Speaker, Majority Leader, and the party that is not in control has a minority leader and both parties have Whips.
Collins says if Scalise becomes Majority Leader he could be in a position to ascend to House Speaker.
“Most Speakers were Majority Leader before they became Speaker so I think the most significant thing is it basically puts Steve Scalise in line to be Speaker of the House one day,” said Collins.
FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman says other Louisianans have enjoyed lots of power on Capitol Hill.
“Hale Boggs, John Breaux, Bob Livingston, Cedric Richmond, we have a great tradition in Louisiana of disproportionately powerful members of Congress who have really been able to help our region,” said Sherman.
Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, says it helps to have a Louisianan in top positions in Congress, including when the state needs federal help.
“I just look back over my time as governor and the number of times whether it was a flood or a hurricane or a pandemic, you name it where we’re asking the federal government for assistance, you always work with your congressional delegation to try to make that happen,” said Edwards. “And if members of your congressional delegation have those positions within Congress like Majority Leader, for example, obviously that helps and so that’s something that should be helpful for Louisiana going forward.”
Scalise is not just relying on his letter to fellow House Republicans, he is talking to them about future legislation. “It’s something I’ve already been talking to my colleagues about. I’ve got a vision for what I’d like to see us address. We need to get back to confronting the pocketbook issues, inflation, energy,” Scalise said.
Another priority for Scalise: more federal dollars to fight crime.
“Making sure law enforcement is properly respected when it comes to grants that come out that we can focus those federal grants on the tools that our police officers need,” he said.
Still, it appears Republicans will not have the number of additional seats some may have expected.
“Historical trends suggest that we should have seen a red wave, we can definitively say that didn’t happen,” Sherman said.
“The red wave kind of crashed on the rocks,” said Collins.
He said the enthusiasm gap among voters closed ahead of election day.
“The enthusiasm polling that we got literally right before the actual election day the Democrats had caught up in enthusiasm and the enthusiasm numbers were tied and so but the problem is by then the narrative was basically written and everybody had already decided there’s going to be a red wave,” said Collins.
FOX 8 asked Edwards about how the balance of power is shaking out following the election.
“I think sometimes we get ahead of ourselves, and we think we know exactly what’s going to happen and I think it’s a good reminder that voters get to decide and not the pundits,” he said.
Scalise thinks there will be bipartisan support for tackling some problems.
“I think the pocketbook issues that are impacting everybody. The nation has spoken and whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent, people want Congress to address inflation and the high cost of everything; at the grocery store, the pain at the pump, crime has become a major national issue,” said Scalise.
People inside and out of government hope for more bipartisanship.
“Hopefully, people will come to realize we have to work together regardless of party and do a better job of that going forward, that would be a great outcome,” stated Edwards.
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