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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Steve Bannon’s plans aside, top lawmakers seem fortified

Republicans House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority

Republicans House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen here on Feb. 27, 2017. Credit: AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

What fails to happen in Washington often arouses as much interest as what does occur.

One example: Despite some grumbling, there is no sign of an internal Republican revolt aimed at pushing out the leaders of the legislative houses.

The prospect of such a rebellion always is raised when a factional split appears in a legislative caucus.

But at the moment, it is President Donald Trump, not these majority leaders, who becomes the latest lightning rod for hard-line conservative angst.

Trump drew flak from the right by agreeing with Democrats on how to handle the debt ceiling for the short term and by briefly stating the case for those brought here illegally as children.

While Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sounded like he was faulting Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) over the debt deal — saying the GOP leadership hadn’t given Trump “good options” — he made clear on Fox News that no mutiny was afoot.

“No one is talking about changing the leadership,” said Jordan, who helped found the right-leaning House Freedom Caucus.

Ryan’s National Republican Congressional Committee has raised funds at a fast pace, with nearly $35 million on hand going into next year’s House races, according to Politico.

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon has teamed up with Long Island billionaire Robert Mercer to challenge with primaries incumbent Republican senators deemed hostile to his ex-boss Trump’s agenda.

That marks a challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s caucus — but from an outside group at least nominally tied to Trump.

Bannon said in a recent TV appearance that “it’s very obvious” the two GOP leaders “do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented.”

If Bannon’s preferred candidates are elected, perhaps they’d gain the numbers to carry out a coup and install new leaders.

At this point, such talk is purely speculative.

Bannon departed as a White House aide last month, but says he’s promoting the Trump agenda from private life. This suggests any future pro-Trump revolt in the Senate or House GOP might fit the definition of a hostile takeover from the top of the party.

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