WASHINGTON — Spokane’s U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Thursday made an official bid to move up in the House Republican leadership ranks — a promotion that she may well have sewn up already.
McMorris Rodgers is seeking to become chair of House Republican Conference, the chamber’s No. 4 GOP slot. She is currently vice chair and already her party’s highest-ranking female in Congress.
McMorris Rodgers easily won re-election on Tuesday.
Her elevation would give Republicans a welcome chance to highlight female leadership after an election where the GOP’s stance on abortion and other issues became fodder for gender politics. In the next Congress, Republicans are expected to have just 21 women in the House, compared to 61 female Democrats.
McMorris Rodgers, a staunch conservative, has defended her party’s votes against pay-parity legislation or expanded contraceptive coverage against charges that they’re anti-women.
She is a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, who is backing her bid to succeed Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling as conference chair. Hensarling, who co-chaired last year’s deficit-reduction “supercommittee” with Sen. Patty Murray, is seeking chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee.
In an open letter to her colleagues, McMorris Rodgers promised to provide a forum for the Republican agenda.
“We must continue to put forward a bold vision of conservative reform, using traditional and new media and every channel available to reach America,” she wrote. “