The House majority whip will be the next House majority leader.
The House GOP conference elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Thursday afternoon to be their leader, once current Majority Leader Eric Cantor — who was unexpectedly defeated in his primary last week by a relative unknown — steps down in late July.
McCarthy overcame a late challenge from Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), a Tea Party congressman from the more conservative wing of the party, after Financial Services Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) balked at running for the position and Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) dropped out last week.
The California congressman is currently majority whip, the third most powerful House Republican, elected to the position by his peers in 2010. He was first elected to Congress in 2006.
McCarthy, who hails from a blue state, has put a premium on fiscal and economic issues but is seen by some as not sufficiently conservative.
McCarthy — viewed by many as another establishment Republican — has a current Heritage Action rating of 42 percent and a lifetime 50 percent (compared to Labrador’s 77 percent and 82 percent respectively) and a 2013 72 percent rating from the American Conservative Union and a 90.4 percent lifetime rating (compared to Labrador’s 100 percent and 97.2 percent respectively).
The California Republican in recent months raised the eyebrows of anti-amnesty advocates with his co-sponsorship of the ENLIST Act, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented youth who serve in the military.
Both McCarthy and Labrador are seen as soft on amnesty.
Numbers USA, an immigration reduction group, gave McCarthy an “F-,” compared to Labrador’s “C+,” this Congress. McCarthy’s low score this year, however, appears to be largely due to his co-sponsorship of the ENLIST Act. Overall, McCarthy’s lifetime rating is an “A” (compared to Labrador’s “B”).
Ironically, many political pundits have speculated that Cantor lost his Virginia primary election due to squishiness on amnesty.