House Republicans oust party member from GOP Steering Committee

House Republicans ousted one of their own from a highly influential committee — as colleagues grew frustrated that the lawmaker hadn’t been seen or heard from on Capitol Hill in months.

The sophomore class of House Republican lawmakers have voted Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) off of the influential GOP Steering Committee, a House Republican leadership source confirmed to The Post.

The Steering Committee is charged with handing out committee assignments to lawmakers and includes numerous members of House GOP leadership.

Rooney, who is not seeking a third term, will be replaced on the powerful 31-member panel by Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tx.).

According to The Hill, Rooney was aware that the closed-door meeting on his seat was taking place, but opted not to participate.

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) tried to reach him several times by phone, but was unsuccessful, the outlet reports.

Members of the House GOP Conference had grown frustrated with the retiring congressman in recent months, when Rooney stopped showing up for votes or meetings, even before the coronavirus pandemic sent lawmakers to their home districts, Politico reports.

The Florida Republican’s last vote, according to his website, was cast on Feb. 13, nearly a month before the pandemic forced Americans into lockdown.

“Francis has been MIA here for quite some time,” one senior GOP lawmaker told The Hill, “The group tried to have him join via telephone to discuss the issue as there was an upcoming steering committee meeting — but Francis no-showed. So, they voted to replace him.”

Another committee member described Rooney, a wealthy businessman, as being “checked out for awhile.”

When reached for comment by The Post, a spokesman for Rooney said, “Issues relating to the steering committee are supposed to be confidential, which is why I have no comment.”

Rooney had also ruffled feathers with his own party recently when he broke with Republicans and publicly expressed his support for the Democrat-backed proxy voting proposal.

Last week, Rooney designated Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to serve as his proxy vote, filing a letter with the House Clerk confirming his decision.

Rooney wrote the letter despite the fact that House GOP lawmakers had filed a lawsuit challenging the practice and encouraged their members to not use the system.

Rooney, as first reported by Roll Call, was the first Republican to consider giving in to Democrats and embracing the practice, though he later backed away from the idea and was recorded as not voting.


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