Steve Scalise, the U.S. congressman who was shot while at a practice for an annual baseball game against rival lawmakers, is the third-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.
The 51-year-old Scalise has represented a congressional district in the southern state of Louisiana for the last nine years. As the House majority whip, he is responsible for winning support for key legislation supported by the majority Republicans in the House. Prior to being elected to Congress, Scalise served for more than 12 years in the Louisiana legislature.
Scalise, who is married with two children, is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump. Scalise endorsed Trump's campaign to be the Republican party presidential nominee and after he became president backed his executive order for the controversial travel ban attempting to halt travel from six majority-Muslim countries that so far has been blocked by U.S. courts.
Scalise, on his web site, describes himself as "a strong conservative leader who upholds the Constitution, advocating for the principles of fiscal discipline, lower taxes, an all-of-the-above national energy strategy, a robust national defense, and conservative values."
Four years ago, Scalise was chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of more than 170 conservative members in the House. During his tenure, Scalise said he "championed a free-market, patient-centered" alternative to the national health care reforms supported by former President Barack Obama that Republicans to this day are trying to overturn.
Scalise has pushed for a national energy strategy that would increase the supply of American oil and natural gas to lower gas prices at service stations, while reducing dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
Scalise's tenure in Congress has not been without controversy. Three years ago, a political opinion writer uncovered the fact that Scalise in 2002 had addressed a white supremacist group. But Scalise said in response he had not known of the "racist nature of the group."
Several critics called for Scalise to resign from his House leadership position, but Louisiana politicians, including opposition Democrats, came to the defense of Scalise's character and the controversy passed.