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Rogers likely to become top Armed Services Republican

The full House GOP Conference is expected to vote Thursday

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., participates in a House Republican leadership press conference on June 25, 2019.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., participates in a House Republican leadership press conference on June 25, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Republican Steering Committee has recommended Rep. Mike D. Rogers, R-Ala., to be the next ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Rogers, 62, must still be approved by the full House GOP Conference, which is expected to vote on the matter Thursday.

Rogers, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, beat out Reps. Michael R. Turner of Ohio and Rob Wittman of Virginia to fill the Armed Services post. The selection of Rogers was first reported by Politico late Tuesday.

If approved, Rogers will fill the ranking member post being vacated by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, who is retiring at the end of this term after 25 years in Congress and for whom this year’s annual Pentagon policy bill, or the National Defense Authorization Act, is named.

The Armed Services Committee is central in the showdown now playing out to approve a final version of that Pentagon policy bill before Congress adjourns for the remainder of the year. The most contentious issue has been the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate figures. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation that would rename the bases.

This week, Trump also threatened to veto the massive defense bill unless Congress agreed to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a liability shield for social media companies.

The veto threats could endanger the passing of the bill, which typically enjoys bipartisan support and is seen as “must-pass” legislation that has been enacted every year for the past 59 years.

But Rogers is no stranger to the challenges of the defense world.

The conservative Republican previously served as chairman of the Armed Services Strategic Forces panel, and was one of the early architects of the Space Force, the military’s newest branch.

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