WASHINGTON, D.C. — New U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito says she’ll have a leadership role that she wasn’t expecting in the new Republican controlled Senate. Capito has been named a counsel to the leadership team of Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell.
“It’s an official position. He has broadened out his leadership team,” Capito said Tuesday on MetroNews Talkline. “I’m going to have an opportunity to weigh-in much more heavily than I would have thought originally.”
Sen. Capito and three other senators have joined the leadership team that traditionally includes the majority leader, majority whip, committee chairs and others. Capito described the group’s first meeting held on Monday during Tuesday’s Talkline.
“It’s strategy. It’s techniques to move legislation, what’s important,” Capito said.
Capito was sworn-in to office Tuesday afternoon on the floor of the Senate. The 7-term member of the U.S. House is the first Republican senator from West Virginia since the 1950s and the first woman U.S. senator in state history. Capito’s father, former Gov. Arch Moore, wasn’t able to witness Tuesday’s ceremony.
“This would be a big day for him,” Capito said. The senator’s mother died last year.
Capito predicted the Senate would deal with the Keystone Pipeline issue first and then take a vote on the Affordable Care Act.
“We’ll probably have a repeal vote–but knowing that’s not going to get signed by the President–what are the ways we can really attack this (Obamacare) and change it for the better? So we’ll go that direction,” Capito predicted.
Some of the changes to the Affordable Care Act could be the 40-hour work week provision and the medical device tax.
“It’s a direct tax on the consumer. That’s a hip, that’s a knee, that’s any kind of stints in your heart. Obviously it’s a ‘pay for’ for Obamacare. So we need to strip that out,” Capito said.
The senator said being in the Senate means a bigger platform, a bigger staff, which she is still working on filling, and the chance for closer relationships with colleagues because of the Senate’s relatively small size when compared to the U.S. House of Representatives.