Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 24, 2014

Posts in "Kevin McCarthy"

July 21, 2014

McCarthy Takes Over Visible Leader Duties as Staff Transitions

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Cantor, right, has essentially handed the majority leader baton off to McCarthy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy does not officially step into his new job as majority leader until August, but for all intents and purposes, the California Republican has already assumed the visible duties of his next leadership role.

McCarthy laid out the week’s schedule during a weekly colloquy with Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer on the House floor on July 17, and earlier in the week, it was McCarthy, not Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who addressed the press. McCarthy also handled the colloquy the week before, and Cantor has not attended GOP leadership press conferences since the day after he lost a primary.

McCarthy has continued to manage the whip duties as well, while Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise of Louisiana ramps up his operation.

Scalise was set to take on a more visible role in conference leadership with his delivery of the weekly Republican address this weekend.

As McCarthy and Scalise raise their profiles, Cantor has quietly stepped to the background, giving few interviews and avoiding the spotlight since his stunning June 10 primary loss to college professor Dave Brat.

Behind the scenes, however, the Virginia Republican’s staff is still handling many issues while McCarthy builds his operation. Legislative requests from members, for instance, are still being handled by Cantor’s member services shop and his staff is also overseeing committee work.

Some members of McCarthy’s team have begun handling floor scheduling, aides said. But Cantor’s floor team has irreplaceable institutional knowledge and contains some staffers who have worked there for years, since before Republicans gained the majority.

Cantor has continued to attend some daily leadership meetings, but for the most part McCarthy has taken over at regular meetings of committee chairmen.

McCarthy will retain the spacious first-floor office suite he currently enjoys as majority whip (although he will soon have a new plaque outside the door reflecting his changed title). That marks a return to the old office layouts — when Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio was majority leader, he occupied that office.

Over the August break, Scalise will move into Cantor’s second floor office, which is directly off of Statuary Hall. His chosen chief deputy, Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, will occupy an office on the third floor above what will be Scalise’s office.

While the Cantor team — one of the most highly regarded on the Hill — helps with the transition, solicits contributions from fellow Republicans to help retire debt from the campaign and looks for jobs, the next move for their boss remains a mystery.

The Virginia lawmaker has said he will serve out the rest of his term and is still casting votes, but his Twitter accounts are quiet — his @GOPLeader account, which once buzzed with multiple tweets each day on House action, hasn’t been updated since June 30.

In one of the few interviews he’s given since his primary loss, Cantor told ABC’s Jonathan Karl just days after the defeat, “I don’t think that I want to be a lobbyist, but I do want to be — play a role in the public debate.”

Since then, Cantor — and his top staffers — have been the subjects of speculation from Wall Street to K Street and back.

Nels Olson, who runs the Washington office of recruiting firm Korn Ferry, told CQ Roll Call last month that Cantor and his his top staffers will be attractive prospects for Washington shops doing business on Capitol Hill.

“Those individuals will have an opportunity to make a transition,” Olson said.

Ivan Adler, a headhunter with the McCormick Group, said Cantor “may be the perfect candidate for K Street.”

Others have suggested that with his fundraising prowess — he raised more than $6 million and outspent his opponent dramatically in the June primary — Cantor would be an attractive choice as a successor to Reince Priebus at the Republican National Committee.

The New York Daily News reported recently that Cantor has been spotted in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island twice since losing his race last month — once to attend a Father’s Day service at a synagogue in Westhampton Beach and again at a campaign event for Republican congressional candidate Lee Zeldin. Politico reported he is scheduled to return there in August.

Cantor’s congressional operation employs about 35 people — in his leadership, personal and district offices — with a combined 2013 payroll of $3 million, according to data compiled by LegiStorm.

July 15, 2014

Border Funding Request Takes Shape in House

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Granger is leading a GOP task force to make recommendations on the child migrant border surge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:45 p.m. | House Republicans could, by the week’s end, unveil their legislative response to the president’s $3.7 billion request to bolster resources at the southwest border.

The response is likely to cost less and incorporate policy riders sure to rile up Democrats on the left — but still might not be stringent enough to satisfy members on the hard right.

Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, the chairwoman of a special GOP working group convened by Speaker John A. Boehner to make policy recommendations on the child migrant border surge, told reporters Tuesday her group is focused on increasing border security funding, adding National Guard troops on the border and having more immigration judges to preside over deportation hearings and asylum requests.

With a formal report not yet public at the time she spoke with the press, Granger also said the group supported tweaking a 2008 trafficking law to allow all unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border to choose to return to their home countries rather than await trial to be deported, a right currently afforded only to children from countries contiguous to the United States.

“Tweak it, not change it, not repeal it,” Granger stressed, “but to treat all children the same.” Full story

July 1, 2014

House GOP’s Secret Vote, Deconstructed

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Scalise leaves the hearing room after the June 19 secret vote electing him majority whip. Only three people know the leadership vote totals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been 12 days since House Republicans elected a new majority leader and majority whip behind the closed doors of the House Ways and Means Committee room. And though the ballots and vote totals were a secret, plenty of members and staff think they have an idea. The problem is, they’re probably wrong.

With the exception of the three members who counted the ballots — Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Flores of Texas, and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina — no one definitively knows the vote totals.

Unless, of course, they cracked the safe in conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s Cannon office, where the ballots are kept. Those ballots — numbered sheets of paper with candidate names scrawled on each — have not yet been destroyed, contrary to earlier practices, an aide confirmed.

Full story

June 24, 2014

Boehner Defers to Hensarling on Export-Import Bank (Updated)

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On the Export-Import Bank reauthorization, Boehner is looking to Hensarling. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:36 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio declined to commit to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, saying instead Tuesday morning that he is trying find common ground between his members who want to end the bank and those who want to continue funding it.

Boehner said he is looking to tomorrow’s Financial Services Committee hearing on the subject, and will rely on Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who has said he wants to let the program expire to lay out the way ahead. Boehner’s comments come amid revelations that some Ex-Im Bank employees were fired for allegedly accepting bribes.

“I’m looking forward to the chairman outlining how we’re going to deal with this rather controversial subject, especially in light of some of the employees who were let go, who are accused of kickbacks and other schemes to pad their own pockets,” Boehner said. Full story

June 23, 2014

McCarthy Will Have to Prove Himself on Policy, Fundraising

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In replacing Cantor, McCarthy has big shoes to fill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy took the stage on June 20 at his first public address since being elected majority leader looking to reintroduce himself to the public.

Focusing on his Everyman roots in Bakersfield, Calif., he told a gathering of social conservatives that he paid his way though college with a mixture of lottery luck and entrepreneurship, eventually being elected to the very congressional office from which he was once turned down for an internship.

“You’ve got to understand where I come from. I’m the grandson of a cattle rancher, the son of a firefighter, and I had the opportunity to run for majority leader. Only in America do we have this,” he told the audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, to applause. “I’m not an attorney. I don’t have poli-sci degree.” Full story

June 20, 2014

Labrador Says Boehner Now Less Likely to Retire in Fall

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Labrador says Boehner is the big winner this week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 6:35 p.m. | While many lawmakers have said they don’t think Speaker John A. Boehner will stay for another term, the surprise defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the recent leadership elections now has at least one conservative lawmaker thinking Boehner’s position has been strengthened.

Raúl R. Labrador has repeatedly predicted that Boehner would step down as speaker at the end of this term. In fact, the Idaho Republican did it as recently as last Tuesday, on the morning of the day that Cantor lost his primary to Dave Brat.

But after waging his own unsuccessful bid for majority leader, and after Kevin McCarthy was elected to the position, Labrador thinks Boehner is now better positioned to stick around. Full story

June 19, 2014

Steve Scalise Wins Whip, Takes No. 3 Post in House (Updated) (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:45 p.m. | After a fiercely fought campaign against two competitors, Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana emerged Thursday afternoon as the GOP conference’s pick to be the next House majority whip.

The whip position became open after the current whip, Kevin McCarthy of California, won his election against Idaho’s Raúl R. Labrador to succeed Virginia’s Eric Cantor as majority leader.

Full story

Kevin McCarthy Elected Majority Leader (Video)

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McCarthy was elected by his Republican colleagues to be the next House majority leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:32 p.m. | Republican members of the House elected Kevin McCarthy to be the next majority leader, sending a message of stability to their party in a time of unexpected unrest.

Behind the closed doors of the Ways and Means Committee room, in a secret ballot vote, the California Republican cemented the massive voting bloc he’s held from the earliest moments of the race. McCarthy, who was the majority whip, toppled conservative challenger Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho. Labrador had mounted a concerted media campaign.

The House doesn’t formally announce the tally, though it could leak.
Labrador’s campaign looked to capitalize on general frustration with leadership, as well as the message Virginia voters sent to the House after Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffered a stunning primary defeat on June 10.

In the end, Republicans chose the safe and expected candidate, elevating the No. 3 Republican to the No. 2 spot. Next up is choosing a new whip to replace McCarthy.

Full story

June 18, 2014

McCarthy Cruises; Whip Race Still a Tossup

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Stutzman and others made their final pitch to Republicans ahead of Thursday whip race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Candidates for House Republican leadership made their final pitches Wednesday morning, pressing for unity while leading their factions into what will be a divisive Thursday vote to decide the future of the conference.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California retained his position as a lock to become majority leader, although Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho is mounting an upstart challenge, driven by a simmering dissatisfaction with leadership.

But the race to replace McCarthy remains fluid. Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana got a boost Wednesday morning. Reps. Joe Pitts and Bill Shuster, both of Pennsylvania, pledged their support to Scalise and said they would whip their 11 GOP Keystone State colleagues, many of whom remain undecided, according to a source familiar with the group.

Full story

June 17, 2014

Would-Be Whips Woo Conservatives, Reassure Moderates

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Majority whip race contender Roskam says he can tame the House Republican Conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Candidates for House majority whip are pushing their cases hard in the last hours of the race, each promising to heal a party scarred by infighting and at the same time, wrangle the conference into a united voting bloc.

In the run-up to Thursday’s pivotal vote, Rep. Peter Roskam, the chief deputy whip, is touting himself as the most experienced candidate — and the only one who will be a disciplinarian toward rambunctious members who vote out of step with leadership.

The Illinois Republican said he would punish members who vote against leaders’ priorities, according to a member familiar with his pitch. Although that is much more difficult in a post-earmark world, Roskam laid out a slate of ideas, including refusing to take up unruly members’ bills, withholding plum committee assignments and even banishing rebels from the weekly conference breakfast, denying them a free meal if they do not play with the rest of the team. Full story

Hoyer: Only Hensarling Blocking Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

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Hensarling, R-Texas, doesn’t like the Export-Import Bank. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s only “one member of the Republican Party” holding up reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, according to Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer: Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt [he's] the one holding it up,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters at his weekly press briefing Tuesday morning. “It’s not an impression. It’s a fact.”

Hoyer went on to say that House GOP leaders, particularly outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, want to reauthorize the institution designed to help U.S. companies finance goods for sale overseas. The two lawmakers actually worked closely together at the time of the last reauthorization to bring a bill to the floor, Hoyer said.

Opponents of the Ex-Im Bank dismiss the institution as an anachronistic corporate slush fund rife with cronyism, and they have an ally in Hensarling, who heads up the committee of jurisdiction.

Full story

June 16, 2014

Labrador Appeals Directly to Colleagues for Support in Majority Leader Race

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Labrador has written a letter to his House colleagues, asking for them to support him to be the next majority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Raúl R. Labrador is running a high-profile campaign to be the next House majority leader, appearing on nationally-syndicated talk shows, obliging interview requests from Capitol Hill scribes and penning a personal appeal to his colleagues.

In advance of the Thursday election that will decide who gets to replace outgoing majority leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the Idaho Republican sent a brief letter to members of the GOP conference late Monday to ask for their support.

Labrador, who is running largely as the conservative alternative to his opponent, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, said that his seat at the leadership table would mark both a departure from the “status quo” and a return to a time where senior lawmakers sought to unify the rank and file. Full story

Roskam-Scalise Whip Race Heats Up, Gets Ugly

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From left, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Roskam, R-Ill., and Scalise, R-La., talk earlier this year. Scalise and Roskam are now rivals for the house whip post. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two front-runners in the race to become the next House majority whip spent the weekend shoring up support with potential allies — and, through staff, taking swipes at each other.

A source close to Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, in an emailed memo to CQ Roll Call, said the 90-plus members in the House who have pledged to vote for the Illinois Republican are “rock solid,” while Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise’s numbers are “soft” and “all over the place since Thursday — at 100, 120, over 100, etc. etc.

“No one wants a whip who can’t count,” the source continued, “and no one wants a whip who overpromises and under-delivers.” Full story

Becerra Suggests ‘Common Ground’ With Labrador

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The No. 4 House Democrat sounds like he’s got a preference for which lawmaker House Republicans choose Thursday to be majority leader.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra has praise for Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, saying the Idaho Republican is both straightforward and easy to work with, and should not be underestimated.

“One of the pure things about Raúl Labrador is that you know what you’re getting. And while he’s extremely conservative, far more conservative than I would like, at least I know that,” Becerra said on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program Sunday. “And it’s easy to come to terms with someone so long as you know where they stand. You can reach common ground with a person like that.”

Becerra noted that his fellow Californian Kevin McCarthy, now the GOP whip, has “a lot of experience,” adding, “I know McCarthy is going to work this very hard.”

He would not make any predictions about the outcome of the race,  but he described Labrador as “smart, capable [and] very committed.” Becerra also noted Labrador’s role working with the “group of eight” bipartisan lawmakers on an immigration overhaul, saying Labrador “understands immigration law.”

Full story

June 13, 2014

Labrador Announces Candidacy for Majority Leader (Updated)

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Labrador says he’s in the race for majority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:09 p.m. | Raúl R. Labrador is a candidate for majority leader.

Labrador announced his decision in a news release Friday afternoon. The Idaho Republican faces an uphill battle to defeat Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who is seen as the overwhelming favorite for the position.

After Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, decided not to run, a number of conservative lawmakers turned to Labrador to be their candidate. And after Rules Chairman Pete Sessions dropped out of the race Thursday night, McCarthy was unopposed.

Labrador’s candidacy changes that. Full story

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