House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) selected his close ally Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) to be chair of the Elected Leadership Committee, resurrecting the role within GOP leadership.
The selection was made official at Wednesday’s House GOP Conference meeting, according to a GOP source. Punchbowl News first reported McCarthy’s selection of Graves on Thursday.
The Elected Leadership Committee chair is an ad-hoc position that has not been filled in more than a decade. But resurrecting it has previously been floated as a fallback opportunity for rising stars in the House GOP. Former Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) was last appointed to the role by former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2010.
In selecting Graves, McCarthy is increasing the number of his allies in House GOP leadership after making many concessions throughout a prolonged Speakership election battle at the start of the year.
Graves was part of a small group of key negotiators, along with members like Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and French Hill (R-Ark.), who helped craft a deal to sway 20 McCarthy detractors to support him for Speaker after multiple failed ballots.
Punchbowl News reported that Graves will work to put further restrictions on earmarks, which were brought back in the last Congress as “community project funding” after a decadelong ban. Many members who opposed McCarthy pushed to again eliminate earmarks, but the House GOP Conference overwhelmingly rejected a resolution to ban the practice in November.
Graves was previously the ranking member on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in the last Congress, and is a potential contender for governor of Louisiana in 2023. He was first elected to the House in 2014.