Published On: Thu, Apr 21st, 2016

Senate Republican leaders vote over rules at lunch to keep status quo, Mike Lee out

Senate Republicans “settled” an internal rift over once-obscure conference rules that prompted a leadership bid from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and now secures established roles of GOP senators on their respective committees.

Utah Senator Mike Lee

Utah Senator Mike Lee

During a party lunch, GOP senators agreed by voice vote that a leadership term lasting a year or less doesn’t count as a full term. That means such a partial term would not count toward the three-term limit that governs positions at the top of the Senate Republican ranks.

The vote puts to rest any questions about whether three of the current top five Senate Republicans — Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota, Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and Conference Vice-Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri — can serve beyond this year.

The three senators moved to their current leadership slots at the start of 2012 following Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s resignation as conference chairman, but since that first year did not count as a full term, they can serve in those positions until the end of 2018.

“We basically re-confirmed a precedent with regard to partial terms and their impact on the three-term limit to some of our leadership positions and committee chairs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said following the lunch.

Lee’s staff initially had a different interpretation of the conference rules and now they claim the Utah senator was dropping his run for Policy Committee chairman.

Lee had believed Barrasso was term-limited and thus could not run for the position again. Sources familiar with the lunch said Lee didn’t speak up during the lunch discussion over rules, which was prompted by Alexander after he called for a clarification to the conference precedent.

Photo/donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

Photo/donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

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- Sierra is a copy writer for The Dispatch, focusing primarily on pop culture and stories linked to the latest Christian headlines, both in the U.S. and overseas.

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