Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, privately battled with the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Monday night, where she raised concerns from members about the direction of the party’s campaign arm as they try to win back the chamber.
Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota used a members’ only leadership meeting Monday night to press lawmakers about their party dues and contributions to the party committee. At one point, he questioned whether Cheney would continue to contribute campaign cash to the NRCC, according to multiple sources.
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Cheney, the House Republican Conference chair who outranks Emmer, fired back that she has met her fundraising benchmarks and paid her party dues.
The Wyoming Republican — who is mulling a Senate bid after Sen. Mike Enzi declared his retirement — countered that some members are concerned Emmer is artificially inflating the fundraising numbers he brings in, according to sources. Cheney also told Emmer that some lawmakers are worried about the campaign arm’s general strategy going forward as it seeks to rebuild the GOP’s fortunes in 2020.
Cheney’s office said it does not comment on closed-door meetings. When asked for comment, Emmer praised Cheney in a statement.
“Chairwoman Cheney is a generous supporter of the NRCC in addition to being a valued member of our House Republican Conference,” he said. “Her political counsel, along with the legislative agenda she is helping to craft, will be vital to our collective efforts to reclaim the majority in 2020.”
The NRCC has been in some hot water lately. Last week, the committee sharply criticized Democrats for seeking a pay raise for members of Congress, even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) were in negotiations with Democrats to hike lawmakers’ pay for the first time in a decade.
Emmer, a low-key lawmaker from the Midwest who tends to avoid the press, took the helm of the NRCC after House Republicans were swept out of power for the first time in eight years.
Early on in his tenure, Emmer also had to deal with revelations that the House GOP campaign arm suffered a major hack during the 2018 midterm campaigns. But despite being in the minority, the NRCC’s fundraising numbers have been strong so far this year.
Still, some members have expressed concerns to Cheney about the party’s plans to win back the House, which she brought up in Monday’s tense meeting.
It’s not the first time Cheney has clashed with fellow members of leadership. Cheney expressed frustration earlier this year that there wasn’t better communication about the GOP’s strategy on a Democratic anti-hate resolution. Cheney was the only member of leadership to vote against the measure, upsetting McCarthy.
Cheney, the highest ranking woman in House GOP leadership, is still weighing whether to run for an open Senate seat in Wyoming. If Cheney throws her hat in the ring, however, she would have to step down from leadership because of new party rules that took effect this year.