WASHINGTON — Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, wounded when a gunman opened fire on Republicans' baseball practice on Wednesday morning, is the House majority whip and the third-ranking lawmaker in the chamber.
The 51-year-old Republican congressman from Metairie, not far from New Orleans, has risen quickly through the GOP ranks in the House.
Scalise, a conservative and former state legislator, was elected as majority whip in 2014 amid a Republican scramble for leadership positions that began after Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia was defeated in a primary and announced his resignation as majority leader.
As majority whip, Scalise mobilizes Republicans to vote with leadership on major issues. In that role and as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Scalise has been an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act and has led efforts to repeal it.
Scalise has also been an been an avid supporter of President Trump. Last year, he urged Louisiana delegates at the Republican National Convention to support Trump so the GOP-controlled House can turn the conservative agenda into law.
“I think everybody knows what’s at stake in this election,’’ Scalise told the state delegation.
Scalise said a Republican president would help GOP House leaders move legislation to ban late-term abortions, repeal the ACA and defund Planned Parenthood.
Scalise had launched a bid in 2015 for House majority leader — the No. 2 House leadership post — to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who was expected to run for speaker after then-speaker John Boehner of Ohio announced his retirement. McCarthy, however, dropped out of the speaker race and kept his spot as majority leader.
Before becoming majority whip, Scalise headed the powerful Republican Study Committee, which works to advance a conservative social and economic agenda in the House.
Scalise, who served in the Louisiana state House and state Senate, also led the National Republican Congressional Committee's effort in 2012 to recruit GOP House candidates.
While Scalise has had a national profile, he has also focused on regional issues, including promoting energy and pushing for disaster aid for the state following floods and hurricanes. He recently led a congressional delegation on an energy tour of the region.
Scalise also led efforts in the House to make sure billions in fines paid by BP for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be sent to Gulf Coast states for restoration efforts.
He recently served as captain of the DC Mardi Gras, a celebration of Louisiana culture in the nation's capital.