At Roll Call, David Drucker writes about internal criticism of House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). As you will see in the Draper book, the current set of House Republicans is hard to whip...
But McCarthy’s critics say there are factors within his control that might allow House Republicans to present a more united front to President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats.
In addition, McCarthy lacks the attention to detail and deep knowledge of the issues that make a good whip, his critics contend. He is too concerned with maintaining good relationships to exert party discipline, and he does not delegate enough to a staff described as quite capable, they say.
McCarthy’s predecessors regularly used earmarks and promises of campaign-fundraising assistance to flip and corral votes on politically charged legislation. Such local favors helped maintain discipline and unity.
Now that earmarks are banned, every vote is a “conscience vote,” one Republican said.
Even so, McCarthy and his whip operation have encountered difficulty almost every time the House has considered major fiscal legislation that tested the Republican majority’s ability to govern and carried significant political ramifications.
Examples include the 2011 debt ceiling bill, the 2011 extension of the payroll tax holiday and, most recently, legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, which passed with more Democratic than Republican votes.
McCarthy hasn’t used tools available to him, GOP observers say, including preventing members’ bills from receiving committee hearings or blocking them from floor consideration. Such tactics could be enforced subtly, avoiding the public outcry that surrounded leadership’s decision to remove four maverick Republicans from coveted committees.