The Political Insider gang over at the AJC brings us news this morning that Tom Graves has been named as a conferee from the House to negotiate any compromise with the Senate, should the Senate decide to accept the proposal of a conference committee.
As the government shutdown arrived, House Speaker John Boehner appointed eight members of a conference committee to work out a short-term spending bill with the Senate. Among them is Rep. Tom Graves, the Republican from Ranger who has led the “defund Obamacare” fight.
Boehner’s move is a sign that the conference would not betray the caucus’ right flank and a nod to the Georgia congressman’s continued influence.
But it’s unlikely this homage to “I’m Just a Bill” is going to happen.
House Republicans figure Senate Democrats had rejected every offer without a discussion, so maybe it was time to start one. But Senate Democrats laughed this off, as Republicans previously have refused to go to conference over the budget this year.
Don’t let the significance of this appointment pass, for a variety of reasons. Most obviously, Graves has positioned himself among the most conservative in the House, being uber-conservative Heritage Action’s most conservative House member for 2012. Graves, however, isn’t a Paul Broun or Justin Amash, folks that have consistently bucked leadership for the sake of bucking leadership. There are certain qualities with those folks that Graves has not yet been labeled with.
That said, should there be a conference, it is a big opportunity for Graves that is also not without risk. This is a chance to show that those from the ultra conservative flank of the GOP can lead. It is also a chance that, given this opportunity, to see if those who support Graves will continue to support him after a compromise is reached, or if he too will be given the infamous “RINO” label like other hard lines Rubio, Toomey, Ryan, Paul, and others have received as soon as they leave Tea Party comfort zones and attempt to govern.
We have received the following from Tom Graves’ office.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats rejected an offer from House Republicans to go to a formal conference and negotiate an end to the government shutdown:
“If there was any question about who wants a government shutdown, Harry Reid answered it this morning when he rejected our offer to open formal negotiations on the government funding bill. Over the last several weeks, Harry Reid has proven to be a skillful political hit man and name caller. He never misses a chance to inject venom into the legislative process. However, he went further than anyone expected today when he rejected our offer to negotiate. From here on out, every minute of this government shutdown is owned solely by Harry Reid.”