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Sessions for House GOP Freshmen Evolve in Influence

House GOP leaders urged rank-and-file Members on Wednesday to attend “listening sessions” with freshmen that have become a key forum for developing the Republican Conference’s policies on spending and debt reduction.

The sessions were originally intended to educate freshmen about the budget, debt ceiling and other problems facing Congress, but they have expanded into broader discussions between leaders and their newest Members over how best to address the issues.

Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) lead the meetings.

In an e-mail Wednesday to the House Republican Conference, McCarthy wrote that the meetings “are now being opened up to the entire Conference. These sessions are an opportunity for our members to both provide input and collect information.”

The e-mail added that “leadership strongly recommends that our Members sign up for one of these sessions.”

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