Diary

Behind the Scenes, This GOP Group Pushes Congress to the Right

The Republican Study Committee isn’t the newest conservative caucus on the congressional block. But they’re the oldest, they’re still the biggest, and on occasion, they will throw their weight around on Capitol Hill.

The new executive director of the caucus, Scott Parkinson, wants the RSC to use that political clout to build policy consensus among House Republicans. A veteran Senate staffer, he says that’s the only way the GOP ever can outmaneuver President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats.

“Republicans need to stand firm in the principles that got them elected as conservatives,” Parkinson told The Daily Signal. If that happens, he said, it’s possible to make Democrats blink because when “you have the will of the people in your corner, that stands stronger than any special interest.”

That requires Republicans to offer a conservative policy agenda, Parkinson said. But the former legislative director to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., lamented the GOP’s lost reputation as the party of ideas.

“There’s sort of this tone that [Republicans] just vote no and don’t offer an alternative,” Parkinson, who started work in February, said. “But the RSC will offer an alternative.”

Something of a small think tank inside Congress, the RSC’s dozen staffers manufacture a full menu of conservative policies each year. That’s where the committee traditionally has made its mark. And indicative of that effort, Parkinson points out that the caucus consistently drafts the most conservative budget blueprint with the lowest amount of government spending.

While House Speaker Paul Ryan continues to push a budget deal that spends $1.07 trillion, the RSC’s fiscal package proposes a much lower number: $974 billion. That budget, Parkinson brags, is the most conservative in Congress, balancing and saving taxpayers $8.6 trillion in the next 10 years.

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