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Rep. Kevin Hern angles for Republican Study Committee to lead policy debate in next Congress

Mica Soellner, The Washington Times

Rep. Kevin Hern is planning to mlahoma and John James of Michigan.

Mr. Hern said he wants the RSC to be a place where new members of Congress can share their ideas.

“Members get elected up here and they get stuck on the back bench and they have to listen and don’t really get a chance to speak,” Mr. Hern said. “We want to give them a chance to introduce bills, talk about bills, talk aake the Republican Study Committee a fiscal check on the next Congress.

The Oklahoma Republican, who was unanimously elected to chair the conservative RSC, said he wants the group to lead in opposing President Biden’s agenda and returning the nation to where it was under former President Donald Trump.

“What you’re seeing is the Biden administration and Democrats eroding our national security with poor economic policy, poor border policy, poor energy policy and certainly our focus will be to reverse those,” Mr. Hern told The Washington Times.

Mr. Hern, a former businessman who came to Congress in 2018, said he wants to ensure that balancing the federal budget is the top priority for the RSC, which will have about 170 members or about 80% of the House Republican Conference.

The RSC, currently led by Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, is the largest ideological caucus in Congress of either party. It is known as the party’s “conservative conscience.”

The RSC is also the only group in the GOP conference to have put forth a budget in the current Congress.

Mr. Hern’s goal is to get the most conservative budget on the House floor for a vote and for RSC members to lead on economic policy to reduce inflation and cut taxes.

The congressman has also started recruiting incoming members to join the RSC, having had conversations with Reps.-elect Josh Brecheen of Okbout what they want to do, and we can do that in the RSC.”

The RSC also serves as a platform for influential Republican figures to discuss building a conservative agenda. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Canadian celebrity psychologist and conservative political pundit Jordan Peterson spoke at RSC luncheons this year.

Among potential guests Mr. Hern wants to bring in, he said he wants to start with those involved in setting federal budgets to educate members on how the process works.

Potential speakers next year include Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Congressional Budget Office Director Phillip Swagel, and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young.

“It’s to give everybody a perspective on how the process really works, and that really starts with the OMB director in setting the budgets for all the different agencies,” Mr. Hern said. “The OMB director just happens to be a Democrat, but that position is going to be there whether it’s a Republican or Democrat and serving at the will of the president.”

The RSC has played a fundamental role in House Republicans’ messaging strategy in the current Congress.

Under Mr. Banks, the group challenged Mr. Biden’s agenda with alternative plans for border security, inflation reduction and energy policy.