With House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in the hospital recovering from a bullet wound, it could now fall on Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to corral a deeply divided party on the Senate's ObamaCare replacement and the 2018 budget. "The partnership between Rep. Scalise and Rep. McHenry has always been an important part of this whip operation, and that will continue to be the case," explained Scalise's spokesman to Politico. "McHenry is a very capable chief deputy whip, and as he steps up in coming weeks, the other members of our whip team will also keep up their great work and our staff will continue working hard as well."
Scalise's condition has improved from "critical" to "serious" after he was shot during practice for the Congressional Baseball Game last week. Politico adds that "though he only fully regained consciousness on Saturday, according to hospital updates, Scalise already expressed a desire to be conferenced in for leadership meetings as soon as possible, according to one source."
McHenry is a young 41, and Politico points out that being passed the reins at such a crucial moment for the party could prove he's "leadership material down the road."
"The whip team will remain strong and continue to do what Steve set us out to do, and we'll be ready for when he returns," said McHenry, who is also a close personal friend of Scalise's. "He's going to be missed, but he's set a standard for what's expected and we know what we need to do to get the job done."