By Baker Owens –
So the Speaker of the House John Boehner is retiring. Anytime a Speaker retires or resigns, a waterfall of House leadership positions open up for the taking. The current favorite to become the new Speaker is Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). McCarthy is currently the Majority Leader for the House, the second in command to Speaker and generally responsible for scheduling the legislative calendar and management of House committees. If McCarthy becomes Speaker, the Majority Leader position will be open.
As reported by Insider Advantage on Friday, a Georgia representative may enter the fray for the Majority Leader slot. Rep. Tom Price from Georgia’s 6th district, composed of eastern Cobb County, north Fulton and north DeKalb counties, has not said specifically that he will run for the position but news out of Washington is that Price is making the move. Georgia has not had a representative in House leadership since Newt Gingrich resigned following the 1998 elections; as the leadership races begin to unfold, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on Price’s career.
Tom Price came to Georgia to complete his Orthopedic Surgery residency at Emory University. For almost twenty years, Price worked in private practice. He was an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Emory and was also the director of the orthopedic clinic at Grady Hospital.
Price first ran for State Senate in Georgia in 1996. He defeated the democrat nominee 71%-29%. He stayed in the State Senate until 2005, when he ran for Johnny Isakson’s House seat as he decided to run for the Senate. Price faced a runoff primary but was unopposed in the general election in the heavily Republican district.
Since being elected to the U.S. House, Price has joined several House Caucuses with varying focuses. He is a member of the anti-VAT caucus, Immigration Reform caucus, the Tea Party caucus, Republican Israel Caucus, and was Chair of the Republican Study Committee for a time where he is still a member.
Price is also a member of the Congressional Health Care Caucus and the GOP Doctors Caucus founded by one of his former fellow Georgia representatives, Phil Gingrey. The caucus’ aim is to “play an effective role in shaping health care policy.” Price is one of the few GOP reps to offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Price has introduced the “Empowering Patients First Act” in the last four congresses, going back to when Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was still Speaker. The plan, according to Price, would provide “solutions including individual health pools and expanded health savings accounts, tax credits for the purchase of coverage and lawsuit abuse reforms to reduce the costly practice of defensive medicine. The solutions in the Empowering Patients First Act will get Washington out of the way while protecting and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.”
In addition to the Empowering Patients bill, Price has introduced a number of other health care related bills, including the Medical Practice Freedom Act, the RESCUE America’s Health Care Act and the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act. Everything is not health care related though. As reported in Insider Advantage recently, Price also introduced the Employee Rights Act, a bill promising more rights for workers with heavy opposition from pro-union Democrats.
Price has long been considered a conservative member of the House but as hard-line conservatives refuse to make compromises, Price has come under some fire in his role as Chairman of the Budget Committee. Price took care to meet this year with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and other groups, and the House ultimately passed a budget.
Price has remained pretty quiet on the leadership campaign but was respectful and complimentary of Boehner as he resigns. “Speaker John Boehner has served the House of Representatives with honor. He has served at a time of tremendous challenges, and he has always maintained an admirable and healthy sense of purpose and perspective. I thank John and his family for that service, and wish them well in the days ahead,” said Price in a statement.