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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cathy McMorris Rodgers won’t run for House Republican leadership position

FILE – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., accompanied by other members of Congress, speaks during a news conference Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Capitol Hill in Washington. The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations. (Jose Luis Magana / AP)

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers announced Thursday that she will give up her position in Republican House leadership.

McMorris Rodgers was elected the vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference in 2008 and chairwoman in 2012. With the GOP in the majority, the position made her the fourth-ranking member of Congress.

House Republicans are scheduled to select who serves in top leadership positions next week.

Jared Powell, spokesman for the congresswoman, said McMorris Rodgers is hoping to be named the top Republican on one of the subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Cathy continues to hear from the people she represents about the need to improve health care, invest in rural broadband, and advance commonsense energy solutions,” Powell said in a prepared statement. “That’s why she feels the best way to make a difference on the issues that matter to the people she represents is to focus on her work in the Energy and Commerce Committee.”

The Hill reported that McMorris Rodgers planned to pursue the Republican whip position had the party maintained its majority. But there will be fewer top leadership positions in the party since Republicans lost their majority in Tuesday’s elections and they won’t hold the Speaker of the House position.

That means McMorris Rodgers would likely have had to face the current whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., in the race for whip and was not interested in challenging him in that role.

“She has trust in his ability to do that job,” Powell said.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, is expected to run for McMorris Rodgers’ current job, the House Conference chair, a position once held by Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, CNN reported.

McMorris Rodgers has not ruled out running for House GOP leadership roles in the future.

“She’s going to make those decisions based on whatever she thinks is the best way to get things done for the people of Eastern Washington,” Powell said.

McMorris Rodgers has not announced who she supports for minority leader.

The Spokesman-Review’s Kip Hill contributed to this report.