There are three ways to look at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor‘s (R) stunning primary defeat Tuesday in VA-07: short-term, medium-term, and long-term. We’ve tried them all in the last few hours.
— In the short run, Republican incumbents are going to get jumpy. There just isn’t as much safety in “safe seats” anymore. Cantor may be just the second incumbent to go down, but as we’ve noted earlier, members are finishing below 60% in their primaries with increasing frequency. (While everyone was watching Mississippi last week, for example, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) quietly won his primary by just 8 points.) Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) is one of several incumbents in upcoming primaries who’ve had past primary struggles; look for an uptick in activity from them to avoid becoming the next big surprise as Cantor gets their attention.
— In the medium term, nervous incumbents probably means legislating will probably be a quiet business the rest of the year, and maybe beyond for the House GOP majority. Especially given Dave Brat‘s (R) focus on immigration, any movement on that issue looks especially unlikely (even though Senate “Gang of 8” co-author Lindsey Graham (R) breezed through his SC primary Tuesday).
— It’s difficult to ascribe potential long-term effects to a single House primary, though the first-ever primary defeat for a House majority leader will ripple the pond more than most. The situation points to a disconnect between true “tea party” grassroots energy and the national “tea party” groups that didn’t glance twice at this race (but will probably raise lots of money off Brat’s victory). And the punishment doled out to Cantor for not remaining in touch with his grassroots base highlights a looming issue for 2016 presidential candidates who are already spending a lot of energy wooing big-money donors.
This doesn’t even get into the internal politics of replacing Cantor (and possibly others) in House GOP leadership. But his defeat has implications throughout national politics.
— Scott Bland
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.