Republican Study Committee

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Republican Study Committee
House chairman Rob Woodall[1]
Founded 1973
Ideology Conservatism[2]
Fiscal conservatism[2]
Social conservatism[2]
Political position Center-right[citation needed]-Right-wing[3]
National affiliation Republican Party
Colors Red and White
Seats in the House
170 / 435
Politics of United States
Political parties
Elections

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) is a caucus of over 170 conservative members of the Republican Party in the United States House of Representatives. Though the primary functions of the Republican Study Committee vary from year to year, it has always pushed for significant cuts in non-defense spending, advocated socially conservative legislation, and supported the right to keep and bear arms. It has proposed an alternative budget every year since 1995. It has unveiled its plan to balance the budget without increasing income taxes. Its alternative budget proposals are regularly praised by the editors of National Review, a leading conservative journal of opinion. After over 10 years at RSC's helm, Executive Director Paul Teller was fired in December 2013 for divulging member conversations.[4]

Initiatives[edit]

The RSC's key legislative initiatives are detailed in the American Taxpayer Bill of Rights,[5] unveiled in March 2007.

  1. Taxpayers have a right to have a federal government that does not grow beyond their ability to pay for it.
  2. Taxpayers have a right to receive back each dollar that they entrust to the government for their retirement.
  3. Taxpayers have a right to expect the government to balance the budget without having their taxes raised.
  4. Taxpayers have a right to a simple, fair tax code that they can understand.

History[edit]

The RSC was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich and other conservative activists to keep a watch on the House Republican leadership, which they saw at the time as too moderate. Their formation mirrored the rise of the Democratic Study Group, a liberal force in the Democratic Caucus founded in 1959. The group's first chairman was Phil Crane of Illinois. The group briefly dissolved in 1995 after the Republicans won control of the House for the first time in 40 years when Newt Gingrich abolished it and other similar groups.

However, it was almost immediately refounded as the Conservative Action Team (CATs) by Dan Burton of Indiana (the last chairman of the original RSC), Sam Johnson of Texas, John Doolittle of California and Ernest Istook of Oklahoma. The four founders alternated as chairmen throughout the next two Congresses until David McIntosh of Indiana became chairman in 1998. When he resigned from the chairmanship in 2000 to focus on his run for governor of Indiana, Johnson reassumed the chairmanship. John Shadegg of Arizona became chairman in 2001, renaming it the RSC soon after taking over. Shadegg increased the group's membership from 40 members in 2001 to 70 members in 2003. Sue Myrick of North Carolina was the first woman to serve as chair from 2003 to 2005. Mike Pence of Indiana served as chairman from 2005 to 2007 and Jeb Hensarling of Texas served as chairman from 2007 to 2009. Tom Price of Georgia succeeded Hensarling in 2009. After the Republicans regained control of Congress in the 2010 elections, Jim Jordan of Ohio was elected chairman of the RSC. After the 2012 elections, Steve Scalise of Louisiana served as chairman until his election as House Majority Whip in July of 2014. He was replaced by Rob Woodall of Georgia.

Several members of the RSC have held high positions in the House leadership. Presently, seven of the nine top Republican leaders—Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Conference Vice-Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Conference Secretary John Carter, Policy Committee chairman Tom Price, and National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Pete Sessions—are members of the RSC. Only two members of Republican leadership are not members of the RSC: Speaker John Boehner (who is, by tradition, the leader of the House Republicans) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

Paul Teller spent over 10 years as Executive Director of RSC. He was fired in December 2013 by Chairman Steve Scalise for divulging member conversations.[4] Teller had been working with two outside groups in opposition to a budget deal forged by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray.[6]

Connections[edit]

The organization has long had ties to outside groups closely allied with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party, such as the National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the conservative magazine National Review, as well as the libertarian Cato Institute.[citation needed]

A subgroup of the committee, the Values Action Team, coordinates legislation with religious organizations, including the Christian right. It has been headed by Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania since its formation in 1997.[citation needed]

The RSC membership list is available at the group's website.[7] Former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are among its former members. In addition, at least seven sitting senators— Tom Coburn (OK), Pat Toomey (PA), David Vitter (LA), Richard Burr (NC), John Boozman (AR), Jim DeMint (SC), and Roger Wicker (MS)—were members of the RSC while serving in the House. Current governors Mike Pence (IN), Butch Otter (ID) and Bobby Jindal (LA) were also members.

Political issues[edit]

On June 16, 2010 the committee issued a press release critical of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama for negotiating an agreement with energy company BP to bypass a $75 million federal cap on oil companies' liability for oil spills. The statement called the agreement requiring BP to set aside $20 billion to pay damage claims a "Chicago-style political shakedown" by the White House.[8]

In July 2013, the Republican Study Committee barred Heritage Foundation employees from attending its weekly meeting in the Capitol, reversing a decades-old policy.[9]

Members[edit]

Map of House caucus members during the 113th Congress
Map of House caucus members during the 112th Congress

Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Florida

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

NOTE: Italics means the Representative retired or was defeated in his/her primary or general election

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chairman Woodall Biography". Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "About RSC". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ Wasson, Eric; Berman, Russell (November 15, 2012). "GOP Rep. Scalise elected RSC chairman, pledges to pull leadership 'to the right’". Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Alberta, Tim (December 11, 2013). "RSC Fires Executive Director for Leaking 'Member-Level' Talks to Outside Groups". National Journal. 
  5. ^ http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/Solutions/TaxpayerBillofRights.htm
  6. ^ Kane, Paul (December 11, 2013). "House GOP leader Steve Scalise fires top aide, Paul Teller, citing breach of trust". Washington Post. 
  7. ^ [1], RSC's 2012 website.
  8. ^ "Chicago-Style Political Shakedown | Republican Study Committee (RSC)" (Press release). Republican Study Committee. 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  9. ^ Republican Lawmakers Retaliate Against Heritage Foundation, Tim Alberts, National Journal, August 28, 2013

External links[edit]