Today was former Majority Leader of the House Eric Cantor’s last day.
California Representative and former House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy and RSC Chairman and Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise officially took their respective posts as Majority Leader and Majority Whip Thursday evening – although, the positions had essentially been run de-facto since the results of the leadership election on June 19.
At the time of the announcement that Cantor had lost his re-elect in a shocking primary defeat and would be stepping down from his post on July 31, it seemed likely that the new leadership team would quietly assume their roles and take over a chamber with very little left of significance on the legislative agenda for the calendar year.
But, as Fox News' Senior Producer for Capitol Hill Chad Pergram likes to say, “Beware the Ides of August.”
In this case, troubles have come a day early in the form of a beleaguered border security bill that GOP leadership had pulled early Thursday for lack of votes. Then, shortly after 4 p.m. eastern time, word spread that the House would stay in session until a vote took place.
The Hill reports:
But just as it appeared the conference would leave town for a five-week recess having done nothing to respond to the crisis, Republicans held a closed-door conference meeting and emerged staying they would extend their workweek to try to get something done.
“We'll stay until we vote,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said after the meeting.
House votes adjourned Thursday evening with no set schedule for Friday votes; although, a legislative aide gave Townhall a run-down of what tomorrow would look like.
Additionally, @GOPWhip has announced that votes are possible throughout the day tomorrow (Friday)— Republican Cloakroom (@RepCloakroom) July 31, 2014
Members will meet Friday morning for a special conference committee in which they may get a “take it or leave it plan” from GOP leadership or hash out competing proposals for the border security legislation. They’ll then head to the Floor, debate the rule (more on that below), vote on the rule and then – theoretically – debate and take a vote on some form of border security legislation.
Before leaving Thursday night, the House Rules Committee passed a same-day provision, which would allow the House to suspend the rules and consider last-minute border legislation on Friday.
Rules Wrap-Up: Same-day and suspension authority: http://t.co/bodtC85rKl— HouseRulesCommittee (@RulesReps) July 31, 2014
As lawmakers and aides scramble to get a plan together, both supporting and opposing forces are pressuring the House in either direction. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is on record saying that Congress should not leave until action is taken on the border issue. Senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions have been vocal opponents of the House bill.
The new leadership team (John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers) issued the following joint statement on the legislation:
“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws. There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries. For the past month, the House has been engaged in intensive efforts to pass legislation that would compel the president to do his job and ensure it can be done as quickly and compassionately as possible. Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference. We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”
Spectators, like Guy Benson, think this is the time for GOP leadership to shine.
Let’s hope so. We’ll soon see.