House Republicans, whose voter strength can be disproportionately found in the red states of the South and Mountain West, have once again elected a majority leader from a state that voted twice for President Obama. But the race for majority whip was won by a red-state representative who made the case for regional diversity in Republican leadership.
Hailing from California, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy replaces Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, whose surprising primary loss to a political newcomer set the stage for Thursday's leadership elections.
House Republicans voted Thursday on leadership positions in the party's caucus. While House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy stepped up to the role of majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise overcame a more crowded competition to replace McCarthy.
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Calif. Rep. Kevin McCarthy has been chosen by House Republicans to be their next majority leader, taking the place of Rep. Eric Cantor, who was defeated in a stunning primary upset earlier this month. Louisiana's Rep. Steve Scalise has been selected to fill the majority whip post left vacant by McCarthy's promotion.
McCarthy defeated Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative with close ties to the Tea Party, in a secret ballot for the position.
Prosecutors believe that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of a "criminal scheme" to illegally coordinate fundraising with outside conservative groups in violation of state law.
The Associated Press reports that "documents were filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit challenging the probe by the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth. They were ordered publicly released Thursday by a federal appeals court judge after prosecutors and the Wisconsin Club for Growth did not object."
Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 12:07 pm
A big deal has been made about the Republican Party's so-called Hispanic problem during recent U.S. election cycles. But there's another group â€” largely white and male â€” that has also struggled to increase the number of Latinos in its ranks: America's religiously unaffiliated. Until recently, that is.
Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 10:43 am
Republicans will vote by secret ballot today in the House of Representatives, as they choose a new majority leader and majority whip to lead them. Rep. Eric Cantor is stepping down from his No. 2 spot, after losing a primary contest earlier this month.
Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:30 am
The amount of confidence Americans have in Congress has hit a new low. Only 7 percent of the people polled by Gallup said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the legislature as an American institution.
The rock-bottom level of confidence in Congress "is not only the lowest on record," the polling company says, "but also the lowest Gallup has recorded for any institution in the 41-year trend. This is also the first time Gallup has ever measured confidence in a major U.S. institution in the single digits."
Iraq has a long history of roiling American politics. And that doesn't appear about to change anytime soon.
With the Shiite-led Iraqi government losing control of large parts of its country to the Sunni extremist group known as ISIS, the question of who lost Iraq is starting to reverberate through Washington the way "who lost Vietnam" and "who lost China" did in earlier eras.
That all of this is happening during a midterm election stirs even more politics into the mix than if the current violence and ISIS inroads had occurred last year.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra faced another grueling hearing on Capitol Hill, two weeks after a critical internal report blasted the company's handling of defective ignition switches as incompetent. GM has recalled 20 million vehicles already this year and has set aside $700 million to cover repairs related to the recall.
Iraq has long played a major role in President Obama's political life, going back to his earliest days as an Illinois state senator barely known outside of his Chicago district.
Obama's early anti-Iraq war stand would become a centerpiece of his first run for the White House, but it's since been a persistent crisis that's been his to manage, despite his every effort to put it behind him.
If today's Republican Party can be said to have a center of gravity, it's in the South.
The states that made up the Confederacy account for less than a third of the country's total population, yet in the 2012 election they gave Republicans close to half of their membership in the House and accounted for nearly 60 percent of Mitt Romney's electoral votes.
But in House leadership? There, the South has been underrepresented.
Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:23 am
When President Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on Friday, he marked another state off his list. As president, he has now traveled to 46 of the 50 states.
Which ones are still waiting for a visit from President Obama?
Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.
Obama lost all of those states by a significant margin in 2012. They vote solidly Republican. And, it turns out, with the exception of South Carolina, they aren't popular destinations for other presidents either.
Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 12:00 pm
With new technology came a new type of Washington scandal: missing emails.
In the latest instance, the vanished emails belonged to Lois Lerner, former head of the exempt organizations division at IRS. She's the official who oversaw the scrutiny of applicants for tax-exempt status as 501(c)(4) social welfare groups â€” a process that conservatives allege was meant to block Tea Party groups.
The controversy blew up just over a year ago. Lerner was pushed out of the IRS; the House cited her for contempt of Congress.
Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 11:52 am
Net neutrality has become a hot topic this summer, despite its snooze-inducing name. The principle governs that data on the Internet should be served to customers on a level playing field â€” at the same speeds â€” without priority for certain companies that might be able to pay for "fast lanes" for content.
The mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, is in Washington today for a nomination hearing. He is President Obama's choice to become the secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Ryan Loyd of Texas Public Radio in San Antonio reports on how Castro has made the move to the national stage.
The poll, conducted June 5-8, finds Congress's job approval at 16 percent, its lowest point in a midterm election year since Gallup began tracking the metric in 1974. Satisfaction with the direction of the country comes in at a paltry 23 percent, just a point above its 2010 midterm year low.
Between Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Wendy Davis, Texas politicians in recent years have lived up to their state's reputation for producing larger-than-life characters.
That makes the Texas political scene a natural for the Hollywood treatment.
HBO has given God Save Texas, a drama about the state's often raucous political culture, the green light for development. It's set to unfold at the Texas statehouse, a perennial flashpoint for national debates about issues ranging from abortion to gun rights to the size and role of government.