Persistence, Scalise says, is his key to success. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
When Majority Whip Steve Scalise walked to the floor on Feb. 27 for the vote on a three-week continuing resolution for the Department of Homeland Security, he knew it was going to fail.
“When we put the bill out there,” Scalise recounted in a sit-down with CQ Roll Call, “there were a lot of members who felt that was the right way to go — over 80 percent of our conference voted for it — but we still didn’t have enough to get there, and you couldn’t expect any Democrats.”
Welcome to the role of the modern majority whip.
It’s an increasingly difficult position. There are no earmarks to dangle in front of members. Plenty of Republicans, having discovered pathways to re-election by being party antagonists, have little reason to fear leadership. And plenty of other Republicans, tired of the conference catering to its most conservative members, are ready for a revolt of their own.