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Susan Walsh / AP

Jim DeMint is launching a new group, called the Conservative Partnership Institute, that he envisions as a "support system" to ensure promising conservative lawmakers who are new to Washington stick to their principles and resist being "co-opted" by Republican leadership.

Think of it as a one-stop shop to create more members like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul — conservatives who have built strong networks and staffs, and, for the most part — though leadership now views Cruz as more cooperative — been foils to Mitch McConnell.

  • DeMint says his non-profit will help conservative members fill their offices with true conservative staffers; coach their teams on policy, legislative procedure and communications; and introduce new members to the people they need to know in the conservative movement, on Capitol Hill, and in the White House.

Why this matters: The conservative movement does a good job of getting conservatives elected to Congress, and beating up on them once they're there and fail to live up to their campaign promises. But DeMint thinks the movement is lousy at helping members be effective conservative legislators once they arrive in town. He and his team say the biggest gap is in training and recruiting members' staffs, because a squishy staff is the quickest way to turn a Tea Party member into a creature of the establishment.

"CPI fills a unique role that is critically needed in Washington, partnering with conservative members, staff and the movement to succeed in advancing liberty," says Sen. Mike Lee, chairman of the conservative Senate Steering Committee.

How it will work: DeMint says he doesn't want to duplicate any conservative group, he wants to partner with them where necessary, for example with groups like Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute.

  • CPI will host regular meetings and strategy sessions with members. DeMint wants to create the same type of social atmosphere — regular drinks, dinners, etc. — that has made the House Freedom Caucus so effective.

Key players:

  • DeMint is a former senator who became one of the most influential figures in the conservative movement as a Tea Party leader and president of the Heritage Foundation — until his controversial ouster.
  • He's recruited a small team of experienced movement conservatives — including Heritage alums Ed Corrigan, Wesley Denton, and Rachel Bovard.
  • Corrigan, who will be CPI's executive director, is impeccably connected in the movement, on the Hill and inside the Trump Administration. He's well-placed to build a "job pool" for conservative members as he's just come off the Trump transition, where he helped fill hundreds of jobs in the administration.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

4 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

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