From helping elevate Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to the Speaker’s chair to shaping the debate over the GOP’s policy agenda, the list of House Republicans making waves through the early months of their new majority goes beyond the top brass and committee chairs.
Here are five GOP lawmakers who have helped define their conference during the first 100 days of the new Congress.
Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.)
As McCarthy faced multiple failed ballots on the floor, Graves — who is in his fifth term and is one of McCarthy’s closest allies — stepped up to negotiate an agreement with the holdouts against McCarthy that got the Speaker across the finish line.
In the months since, he has remained a part of regular meetings with the five major House GOP caucuses and McCarthy. And McCarthy resurrected an appointed House GOP leadership position for Graves: chair of the Elected Leadership Committee.
“I don’t want to go out there and, you know, paint some gold-brick-road situation, because that’s not what’s going on,” Graves said in an interview last month, “But I think what’s happened is we’ve actually created a venue for dialogue and collaboration.”
Graves was the leader of a House GOP energy “task force” last year whose work evolved into the House GOP’s H.R. 1 Lower Energy Costs Act that passed last month.
Now, Graves is involved in getting the conference behind McCarthy for the House GOP’s next big challenge: Trying to extract spending and policy concessions from President Biden as a condition of raising the debt ceiling.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)
Greene — who in 2021 said McCarthy did not have support to be Speaker — emerged as a key supporter of the California Republican amid his quest for the gavel, advocating for the GOP leader’s candidacy early on and urging against a challenger.
In the final minutes of the protracted race, Greene called former President Trump and asked for his help in sealing the deal for McCarthy. A photo that went viral shows the congresswoman on the House floor holding her phone with a call from “DJT.”
“I’m not taking full credit, but Kevin McCarthy would have had a hard time being Speaker if I hadn’t have put my full weight and support behind him like I did,” Greene told The Hill Wednesday by phone.
“Without bragging, I think I played a pretty significant role,” she added.
McCarthy’s victory solidified Greene’s role as a close leadership ally, a position she has used to help shape the House GOP’s agenda. In the first 100 days of the 118th Congress, the conference has embraced a number of initiatives she pushed for: McCarthy released footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol; the Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants at the D.C. jail; and the Foreign Affairs Committee advanced her resolution that would require an audit of U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Greene, for her part, said she demonstrated to her colleagues that Republican voters have a keen interest in these matters.
“Because I showed my conference and showed leadership that the people truly agree with what I’m saying, that helped shape, you know, our conference taking up these issues — especially our Speaker,” Greene said.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas)
Roy has been a vocal conservative hard-liner since he took office in 2019, but his influence rose as he and others withheld support from McCarthy for Speaker during a marathon set of votes — and negotiated concessions to empower rank-and-file members and put focus on certain policies.
He was one of the most vocal in calling to create a “Church-style” select committee to investigate alleged government abuses, a reference to a 1975 Senate select committee led by former Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) that investigated intelligence agencies. McCarthy answered that call by agreeing to create a House Judiciary subcommittee on “weaponization of the federal government.”
As conservatives demanded more representation on the House Rules Committee, which controls all legislation heading to the floor, Roy offered himself up as a possibility — and McCarthy appointed him to the panel after getting the gavel.
Now, Roy is on the forefront of taking an aggressive approach to border security, tangling with moderates in his party on the issue.
“It’s not enough to come to the table and say, ‘I’m a majority maker, I’m in a thin district as a Republican,’ and then run away from the fight,” Roy said on Fox News this week while talking about the border.
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas)
Gonzales, a second-term lawmaker, has emerged as the face of moderate backlash in the House GOP that has complicated leadership’s plans in the slim House majority.
“What I’ve been telling leadership and others is I’m not an island. I am the tip of an iceberg,” Gonzales said in an interview.
Objections from Gonzales, who represents a district with the largest swath of the U.S.-Mexico border, and other moderates derailed House GOP plans to bring a border measure led by Roy relating to denying entry to certain migrants straight to the floor earlier this year. Gonzales called it “un-Christian” and “anti-immigrant.”
He was the lone GOP vote against the House rules package over concerns that McCarthy’s concessions to hardliners during the 15-ballot Speaker election could lead to defense spending cuts.
The Texas Republican Party in March voted to censure Gonzales, also citing his votes last year for a same-sex marriage bill and a gun safety measure crafted after the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which is in his district.
“What I saw there were a lot of members that were in vulnerable positions, and somebody had to get out front and take these arrows,” Gonzales said. “It’s not fun, you know, getting beat up on certain things. But when it’s the right thing to do, I think somebody has to lead that charge.”
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.)
Gallagher, a former Marine twice deployed to Iraq, is no stranger to international conflict.
But his star rose dramatically around that issue this year when McCarthy appointed him to lead the House select committee on China — a panel that serves as both ground zero in Congress’s efforts to curb Beijing’s global influence and a rare bastion of bipartisanship in a chamber practically defined by partisan rancor.
That puts the 39-year-old Gallagher in the driver’s seat of one of the most high-profile investigative panels in Congress. And he’s using the perch to stage a series of prime-time televised hearings to examine China’s economic and military advancement in the age of great-power competition — a dynamic that lawmakers in both parties increasingly see as a unique threat to Western democracy and national security.
Gallagher’s resume makes him a natural fit for the task: His master’s degree focused on defense and security; he boasts a Ph.D. in international relations; and a stint as a senior aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concentrated on Congress’s efforts to fight terrorism.
Politically, Gallagher stands out for another reason: In a Trumpian era when most of the young superstars of the GOP have built their brands around partisan combat, Gallagher is hoping to forge a space where the parties can collaborate — at least in confronting a shared adversary in the form of Beijing.
A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Gallagher gave a preview last year of what such cooperation might look like, teaming up with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.), the senior Democrat on the China select committee, to sponsor legislation banning TikTok — an idea that’s only gained traction in the new Congress.
“We’re hoping, at least on the China select committee, that we can kind of carve out a bipartisan center of gravity,” he said last month.
This is part of a series from The Hill on the House GOP’s first 100 days in power. Check out more coverage on TheHill.com.