The chairman of the Republican Study Committee says Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) should step down as majority leader.
“I think he’s a huge part of the problem,” Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told NBC News, comparing McConnell to the manager of a losing baseball team.
He noted that usually when a team goes on a bad losing streak, it’s the manager, not the players, who is fired.
“There’s a growing consensus that would be very happy if the fine senator from Kentucky called it a career,” Walker told NBC.
Walker leads a group of 150 conservative House GOP lawmakers.
House members have been increasingly frustrated with the Senate, which this week failed again to make progress on ObamaCare repeal.
A spokesman for McConnell declined to respond publicly to the criticism, but allies of the senator waived it off, noting that House members don’t vote in Senate leadership races.
No Republican senator has publicly expressed interest in challenging McConnell for the Senate’s top job, and even after the demise of the health-care repeal bill, Senate Republicans said his leadership position is safe.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has also been under pressure to step aside, one McConnell ally noted, arguing that grumbling over leadership is nothing special on Capitol Hill.
McConnell’s longtime conservative critics are seizing on the health-care setback to put political pressure on the GOP leader, whom they have long viewed as a member of the Washington establishment.