Minnesota congressman John Kline was named the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee Wednesday, skipping over several other more senior GOPers on the panel.
The move up reflects Klineâ€™s role as a leading conservative critic of so-called card-check legislation that would make it easier for unions to organize. Itâ€™s also seen as a vote of confidence from House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, with whom Kline has worked closely on labor issues and other matters.
Kline, a 61-year-old ex-Marine in his fourth term in Congress, will replace Buck McKeon of California, who moved over to the top GOP spot on the Armed Services Committee. The musical House chairs began when President Obama nominated the former ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, New Yorkâ€™s John McHugh, to be Army Secretary.
Now the ranking Republican on the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee, Kline was a leading Republican negotiator in pension reform legislation that secured pension plans for Northwest Airlines employees.
In his new role, Kline will be expected to be a leading GOP combatant in the card check debate, which will put him at odds with organized labor.