U.S. House Republicans introduced their new leadership team today. The number three man is a former California lawmaker from Bakersfield.
With the new Republican majority, Congressman Kevin McCarthy moves up a notch on the leadership team; he becomes its whip. The job involves wrangling votes on the House floor.
That could be challenging with more than 80 new GOP freshmen, many of them elected with Tea Party support. But McCarthy says his job isn’t to keep the new kids in line, it’s to listen to those new members.
McCarthy says he even wants to hear from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. "I don’t believe the Democrats are the same – all of them are the same as they were before," he says. "Yeah, they elected the same leadership, but there were a lot of votes over there that said they wanted a different direction. That maybe they heard from their constituents as well. So if there are places we can work together, I’m more than willing and I’d like to talk to them about that."
McCarthy says job creation is one issue ripe for bipartisanship – though Democrats and Republicans have very different ideas about how to go about it.
And those new GOP freshmen? McCarthy knows most of them. His previous job was to recruit Republican candidates for the November mid-term elections.