It’s been a rough year: First Harold Ramis dies, then Congress loses its only Egon Spengler lookalike. Top House Republicans are whipping votes for the conference's majority leader election, although a trial by combat would probably be quicker. And John Boehner became emotional when he spoke to his caucus about losing Cantor, which, to be fair, came on the heels of him becoming emotional while reading next week's specials in the Longworth cafeteria. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 11th, 2014:
CANTOR TO RESIGN LEADERSHIP JULY 31, SERVE OUT TERM - CNN: "Rep. Eric Cantor will relinquish his leadership position as the No. 2 House Republican, he announced Wednesday after losing his Virginia primary in a stunning upset. 'While I may have had suffered a personal setback last night, I couldn't be more optimistic about the future,' he said at a news conference on Capitol Hill, calling for Republican unity ahead of November midterms...Republican sources said Boehner is more likely to stay on and help build a new leadership team without a clear successor. Boehner on Wednesday called Cantor a 'good friend' and a 'good leader' for Republicans...The election for Cantor's GOP position is next Thursday, according to two Republican sources...Cantor gave his full-throated support to McCarthy should he run. Cantor said he 'would make an outstanding majority leader.' [CNN]
CUE TEARFUL BOEHNER - "This is a speech I never expected to give," the speaker told House Republicans today. "We've been through a lot together. When I was elected majority leader eight and a half years ago, Eric was there, as the chief deputy whip. He's always been there. There's no one who works harder, or puts more thought, into advancing our principles and the solutions we want to enact for the American people." Winston Churchill quote and scene.
Team Cantor has apparently closed down the Tune Inn for the night. They're gonna get druuuuuuuuuuuuuuunk.
LEADERSHIP FIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!! - The question isn't whether the GOP house leadership will be white, Christian and male, the question is how white, Christian and male it will be. Our guess is something approximating the corporate board from "Hudsucker Proxy." Sabrina Siddiqui and Jen Bendery: "Rumors swirled in the halls of Congress all day Wednesday over who may throw their hats into the ring for the second-most powerful House slot. Some contenders were more obvious, like House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who would simply move up a rung in leadership... Others simply endorsed themselves as a great fit for the job. 'It's important that the American people understand what our agenda is, and I think I can help clarify that a bit more,' said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who is chairman of the House Rules Committee and previously led the National Republican Congressional Committee...Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), for one, said he told Sessions he would consider voting for him if Sessions vowed to press House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for a more 'open' process of bringing bills to the floor from committee, rather than leadership just choosing bills to vote on...Sessions would face stiff competition from fellow Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who currently chairs the House Financial Services Committee. A conservative favorite, Hensarling said he was weighing a potential bid but would not commit...The Texas delegation reportedly met behind closed doors after Wednesday votes to discuss the possibility of two of their members competing for the same leadership role ...[Cathy McMorris Rodgers] removed herself from the running. 'After much encouragement from my colleagues, conversations with my family, and many prayers, I have decided to remain Conference Chair at this time,' McMorris Rodgers said Wednesday afternoon." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Starting last year, The Huffington Post asked people surviving on wages near the federal minimum, as well as those struggling to even find a job, to call us and share their stories. The responses voice the anxiety and exhaustion of living in the space between just getting by and watching your life collapse -- a gap so narrow that bringing toilet paper home from work can help make ends meet, while any unexpected expense can send you over the edge. 'I'm scared to death of my car,' one woman told HuffPost, noting she couldn't afford any mechanical work if something went wrong. Another described 'hanging on by the hair on my head.' One woman reported her electricity was about to be turned off; a single father of a 6-year-old said he was just a day away from losing his apartment." [HuffPost]
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CANTOR LOSS FOLLOWED YEARS OF CLASHES WITH TEA PARTY - Jon Ward: "Cantor, who had been next in line to become speaker of the House, was caught off guard by grassroots energy that emanated from a battle with his political organization to take back control of the state’s Republican Party from forces unleashed two years ago by former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The battle was over using a convention process, rather than primary elections, to nominate Republican candidates. In 2012, Cuccinelli supporters took over the state central committee and ruled that the 2013 Republican nomination for the governor’s race would be decided at a convention rather than through the traditional primary process. The more cumbersome process meant that only the most intensely committed activists would get to decide the GOP nominee for governor. The decision drove moderate Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling from contention and paved the way for Cuccinelli to cruise to the nomination. Using a state chapter of his Young Guns political action committee, YG Virginia, Cantor decided to take on the activists trying to purge the Virginia GOP, said Ron Meyer, who ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2013... But the tactic of 'slating' used by YG and by Cantor’s political lieutenant in the state, Ray Allen, had the effect of poking 'a nest of already angry hornets' in the conservative grassroots, as Steve Albertson, a member of the state central committee, put it....Cantor wanted to restore primaries and get rid of conventions to protect his allies in the state, as well as his own seat." [HuffPost]
Ouch -- more from Ward: "Cantor was never well liked, especially by conservatives, who considered him a fraud. His operation's battle with Virginia’s grassroots -- a move described by one senior Cantor aide as 'Richmond hubris' -- created a perfect storm to propel one of the bigger upsets in American political life for some time."
Erick Erickson seems like a pretty good avatar for the far right's reaction to all this: "He and his staff have repeatedly antagonized conservatives. One conservative recently told me that Cantor’s staff were the 'biggest bunch of a**holes on the Hill.' An establishment consultant who backed Cantor actually agreed with this assessment. That attitude moved with Cantor staffers to K Street, the NRSC, and elsewhere generating ill will toward them and Cantor. Many of them were perceived to still be assisting Cantor in other capacities. After Cantor’s loss tonight, I got a high volume of emails from excited conservatives, but also more than a handful of emails from those with establishment Republican leanings all expressing variations on 'good riddance.'" [Red State]
Vox noticed Cantor's campaign spent almost as much at steak joints as Brat's campaign spent on everything it did.
"Celebratory aspects" "Economics professor Dave Brat was thrown headfirst into the pressure cooker of national politics Wednesday, when he appeared on MSNBC and found himself unexpectedly grilled on his policy positions. 'I thought we were just going to chat today about the celebratory aspects,' said Brat, who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Tuesday night in the state's 7th Congressional District GOP primary. It was a stunning political upset in a race that Cantor was expected to easily win. 'I love all the policy questions, I'm happy to do more, but I just wanted to talk about the victory ahead and I wanted to thank everybody that worked so hard on my campaign,' added Brat, after fielding questions from MSNBC host Chuck Todd about the minimum wage, free trade and Syria. 'I'm happy to take policy issues at any time. I just wanted to call out a thanks to everybody today.'" [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
BRATONOMICS: "The one source of economic growth is virtue….It is not property rights, not law or resources, but virtue." [HuffPost]
SCHUMER TRIES TO CHANGE IMMIGRATION NARRATIVE AFTER CANTOR'S LOSS - Now that Cantor is gone, Beltway insiders are worried that immigration will fail this summer -- previously they were hopeful it would fail as late as the fall. The Hill: "Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) shocking primary defeat will make it easier to pass immigration reform this year. Schumer on Wednesday said he viewed Cantor as the biggest obstacle to immigration reform in Congress despite the GOP leader’s occasional lip service to passing reform legislation in the 113th Congress. 'Eric Cantor was never the solution on immigration, he was always the problem,' Schumer said. 'Every time I talked to Republican members, business leaders, growers and faith leaders about immigration reform in the last several months, I consistently heard that the House leadership wanted to move forward but they did not have Cantor’s support.' Schumer disputed the conventional wisdom that Cantor’s loss spelled doom for immigration reform...Schumer pointed to a new poll conducted by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling in Cantor’s district showing that 72 percent of registered voters support bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Nearly 60 percent of Republican voters said passing immigration reform is very important." [The Hill]
SENATE BLOCKS ELIZABETH WARREN'S LOAN REFINANCING DEAL - Populism! Get yer populism here! Fresh hot populism! Shahien Nasiripour: "The Senate on Wednesday declined to approve a measure that would have enabled millions of Americans with expensive student loans to refinance into cheaper debt. The 56-38 vote on the refinancing proposal, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), failed to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Warren’s proposal, which mostly targeted student loans owned or guaranteed by the Department of Education, sought to fund the reduction in borrowers’ student loan payments by increasing taxes on wealthy households. 'With this vote we show the American people who we work for in the United States Senate: Billionaires or students,' Warren said minutes before the vote. Other than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who voted against the measure on procedural grounds in order to preserve Democrats’ ability to reconsider it at a later date, only Republicans voted against it. They said the measure wouldn’t help reduce the skyrocketing cost of college and argued that it was not the best way to help former students manage their debt." [HuffPost]
But the Senate passed a bipartisan VA bill.
GOVERNMENT CHEESE - Lawmakers ranging from Paul Ryan to Peter Welch are upset with the FDA's recent rule on artisanal cheese. Why oh why must the Obama administration wage war on cheese?
HOUSE PRAYS THE GAY AWAY - On that note, we're AMPED for the Science Committee's upcoming panel on "Self Abuse And The Rise Of Palm Hair: A Growing Concern." Jen Bendery: "A House subcommittee held a Tuesday hearing on religious freedom and, among other witnesses, Liberty University dean and professor of law Mathew Staver was there to explain why it's not fair that mental health professionals are barred in some states from trying to convert gay people into straight people. In his testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Staver called it 'religious discrimination' that two states, California and New Jersey, have passed laws prohibiting counselors from practicing gay conversion therapy on minors, a widely discredited approach to trying to change someone's sexual orientation. New York is also mulling a similar ban. 'Homosexual activists have attempted to enact laws throughout the country that would silence mental health professionals from expressing the truth that an individual can successfully reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity and live consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs concerning human sexuality,' Staver wrote in his prepared remarks." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat drinking from a baby bottle.
KINKY FRIEDMAN WEIGHS IN ON CANTOR'S LOSS - Outside of Eliot's mom, Kinky is HuffPost Hill's favorite Jew from Texas. Roll Call: "'Another Jewboy bites the dust,' said Kinky Friedman, reacting to the news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his GOP primary in Virginia. 'The crowd picked Barabas,' Friedman added, a reference to the crowd at Golgotha choosing to grant mercy to the thief Barabas over Jesus, who went on to die on the cross. Friedman, in town to perform Wednesday night at the Washington Jewish Music Festival, experienced his own political defeat recently, losing his race for Texas agriculture commissioner in the Democratic primary runoff last month to Jim Hogan. 'The people have spoken, the bastards,' Friedman quipped with a line generally attributed to Democratic campaign operative Dick Tuck and the late Rep. Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz. While Friedman says he’s pretty sure he’s through with electoral politics (He’s previously run for governor of Texas as well as agriculture commissioner.), he nevertheless keeps in touch with his local congressman, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. Smith hosted Friedman at Wednesday’s Texas Breakfast Club at the American Trucking Association on Capitol Hill." [Roll Call]
- Gingers now have their own rap anthem. [http://bit.ly/1mI7akI]
- How to say "one beer, please" across the globe. [http://huff.to/1qunB7X]
- The 31 countries Google Maps doesn't draw border lines around. [http://bit.ly/1s2xYVc]
- The Pixar intro... but terrible. [http://bit.ly/1qutUsa]
- Japanese rail commuters can now pay exorbitant fees to ride in ultra-luxury train cars. The WiFi probably still sucks. [http://bit.ly/1qulv88]
- A guy created a 35,000-piece recreation of the Salt Lake Mormon Temple, which is what we imagine most Mormons do in their spare time. [http://huff.to/1quBQtm]
- An overview of the defining cultural, demographic and economic characteristics of millennials. [http://bit.ly/1n4nYnk]
@andyjayhawk: INBOX: "QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY RELEASES RESULTS OF NEW YORK CITY POLL ON MAYOR DE BLASIO APPROVAL, CARRIAGE HORSES, FERRETS"
@JohnJHarwood: BREAKING: House GOP leadership
@ElaheIzadi: Metaphysically impossible RT @SarahMMimms: Boehner to reporters: "You know I'm not going to talk to you, so disappear."
@daveweigel: Somewhere in Virginia, a box of “Eric Cantor, Speaker of the House” stationery is quietly dumped into a recycling bin.
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