PHOENIX—Republican Rep. John Shadegg, the conservative Arizonan who ran for House majority leader, told HUMAN EVENTS yesterday that he’s unlikely to get an unofficial job in the House Republican leadership.
Shadegg spoke Sunday at Restoration Weekend, held at the Arizona Biltmore in his 3rd District in Phoenix. Following his remarks about lobbying reform, he told HUMAN EVENTS that he wasn’t sure if he’d be offered a job and didn’t know if he’d accept if one was created.
Two weeks ago, Townhall.com’s Tim Chapman inspired conservative bloggers—and later Capitol Hill staffers—to push the idea of giving Shadegg the unofficial—and currently non-existent—job of assistant majority leader. They argued that because Shadegg’s entrance into the majority leader’s race helped Rep. John Boehner win, he should maintain a high profile. (Shadegg resigned as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the No. 5 job in the House, to run.)
The new assistant majority leader position would be similar to the role former Rep. Rob Portman had in the GOP leadership as White House liaison. Portman is now U.S. trade representative.
But Shadegg was coy about the idea when I asked him yesterday. He spoke instead about helping the GOP achieve meaningful lobbying reform. During his remarks to the group of conservative activists, Shadegg repeatedly stressed electoral risks facing the GOP if it doesn’t act on reforms directed at lobbyists, the budget process and Indian gaming.
Shadegg’s message to the Restoration Weekend crowd wasn’t exactly optimistic. He said Congress does two things well: overreacts and does nothing. He warned that the GOP would suffer politically as a result.
“If this Congress does not abolish earmarks,” Shadegg said, “this will soon be a Democratic Congress.”
Shadegg didn’t hold back in his dislike for some of the GOP’s lobbying reforms. He specifically criticized a proposal that would prohibit former members of Congress who are now registered lobbyists from entering the House gymnasium. Yet, he said, Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the California congressman who took bribes in exchange for political favors, can still walk onto the House floor.
When Shadegg came to Congress after the Republican Revolution in 1994, he said the GOP promised to shrink the size of government and change the way Washington works. He said the party has fallen short on both promises.