House Majority Leader

The Impact Of The California House Delegation–53 out of 435 House Of Representatives Members, And 16 Major Figures

California, the largest state with one out of every eight people in the nation–39.25 million out of 323 million in 2016—has 53 members in the House of Representatives–one out of every eight in the House.

Due to that reality, California House members tend to stand out as more significant than many in other state delegations, with 39 Democrats and 14 Republicans representing the state in the House of Representatives.

A large number of these Congressmen and Congresswomen are leaders in the House, and are often seen on cable television and on news websites.

Among the Republicans, we have:

Kevin McCarthy of the 23rd District is the House Majority Leader, second highest leader of the Republicans in the chamber.

Devin Nunes of the 22nd District is the House Intelligence Committee Chair, although he stepped aside on the investigation of Donald Trump, due to accusations that he had disclosed classified information to the public, and consulted with President Trump on committee actions.

Ed Royce of the 39th District is the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair.

Dana Rohrabacher of the 48th District has been controversial for his overly pro Russian, pro Vladimir Putin, advocacy.

Darrell Issa of the 49th District was the Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2011-2015, and is also known to be the wealthiest member of Congress.

Among the Democrats, we have:

Nancy Pelosi of the 12th District is former Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, and has been Minority Leader since 2011, and is, therefore, the highest ranking Democrat in Congress, and is always highly controversial as a result of her leadership position.

Barbara Lee is a very outspoken African American Congresswoman, representing the 13th District, and was the only person not to support the resolution authorizing the use of force after September 11, 2001. She has been in the past the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Jackie Speier of the 14th District has been a leader in the movement to expose sexual harassment, and to demand action on misbehavior of members of Congress.

Eric Swalwell of the 15th District has only been in Congress for five years, but has played a role on the House Intelligence Committee and House Judiciary Committee on the ongoing investigation into Donald Trump and Russian collusion, and is often seen on cable news programs.

Zoe Lofgren of the 19th District serves on the Oversight and Judiciary Committees and is an important figure with her 22 years in the House of Representatives.

Adam Schiff of the 28th District has become the major figure on the Democratic side of the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Donald Trump and Russian collusion, and earlier served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and has also served on the Appropriations Committee. He is considered an expert on foreign policy and national security issues. He is often seen on cable news programs.

Brad Sherman of the 30th District is a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and has been in the House of Representatives for 21 years. He has also served on the Financial Services Committee.

Ted Lieu of the 33rd District has been in Congress for only three years, but is already an outspoken member, including a call for the impeachment of Donald Trump, and he has been made an Assistant Whip by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. He serves on the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees in the House of Representatives.

Karen Bass, African American from the 37th District, serves on the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees, and is quite outspoken, despite only seven years in the House of Representatives.

Linda Sanchez of the 38th District serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and is ranking member of the Ethics Committee, and is Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She is also the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, 5th ranking position in the House Democratic leadership, and first woman of color ever to be elected to a leadership position in the history of the US Congress.

Maxine Waters of the 43rd District, and African American, is the most outspoken critic of Donald Trump in Congress, and has called for his impeachment and removal from the Presidency. She has long been a firebrand on many issues, and is the most senior of twelve black women serving in Congress. She is a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and has been in Congress since 1991. She was also a strong critic of President George W. Bush, as well as of President Barack Obama. She also is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, and previously served on the House Judiciary Committee. She has come under fire for her confrontational manner, and has been accused of and investigated for ethics violations.

So 5 Republicans and 11 Democrats, almost one third of the 53 House members from California, are major figures in what goes on in the House of Representatives on a daily basis.

Chuck Schumer, The Great Jewish Hope: The Highest Ranking Elected Jew Ever In American Government!

The new Senate Minority Leader is New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1999, and defeated a tough opponent, Republican three term Senator Alfonse D’Amato.

Schumer began his political career at the age 23, and entered the House of Representatives at age 29 from Brooklyn, New York.

He had to compete first with fellow, soon to be retired Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and then his newly elected replacement, Hillary Clinton, who would seek the Presidency despite being the Junior Senator from New York.

Schumer worked his way up the leadership, being a loyal subordinate for ten years to Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and built up the Democratic majority in 2006 and 2008, before the bottom fell out, and the Democrats lost seats, from a high of 60 down to 46 and now up to 48 in 2017.

Schumer is a man who is very accessible and warm, and will do a lot of good for the Democrats, and he happens to have the distinction of being the highest ranking elected Jews ever in American government.

Yes, we have had other distinguished Jewish US Senators, but none in a leadership position in the Senate.

Yes, we had House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, second ranking in the House of Representatives, and hoping to become Speaker of the House someday, before he was defeated for nomination to his seat in 2014 by a more extremist right wing Republican, David Brat.

Yes, we have had Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was Vice Presidential nominee with Al Gore in 2000, when they won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Yes, we have had Jewish cabinet officers, including Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Henry Kissinger, Abraham Ribicoff, and Arthur Goldberg among others, who have had impact on government.

And yes, we have had Jewish Supreme Court Justices by appointment, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan among others.

But Schumer has the potential to have a greater impact politically than most party leaders, so we must wish him the best fortune as the Democrats battle against the Trump Presidency.

Yesterday, Schumer gave a fighting, defiant speech to the Senate on his first day as Minority Leader, making it clear his party would contest Trump on the Cabinet and on every policy that undermines the middle class and promotes the elite wealthy against the average American.

The Crisis In The Speakership Of The House Of Representatives: Not A Laughing Matter!

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is, under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, second in line for the Presidency behind the Vice President of the United States.

Therefore, who is the Speaker of the House is not an idle matter, but of crucial importance, that he or she be a mainstream, responsible public official.

The Republican Party has produced disasters in the Speakership since 1994.

First, we had Newt Gingrich, who had a scandalous private life, and was extremely confrontational in his dealings with President Bill Clinton, and yet, right wing conservatives were unhappy with him, and he resigned after two terms as Speaker, a total of four years.

Then, his theoretical successor, Bob Livingston, was forced to turn down the Speakership, due to his own private life scandals.

Then, Denny Hastert became Speaker, seemed noncontroversial, and in comparison to Gingrich and Livingston, was just that.  But now, years after his decision to leave Congress after the Republicans lost control of the House in 2006, Hastert faces prosecution and is involved in a sex scandal involving when he was a high school wrestling coach 35 years ago.

And then, there was John Boehner, who lasted almost five years, but was under constant attack by the far right Tea Party Movement, and now has decided to resign at the end of October.  Boehner created constant confrontations with Barack Obama, but also, at times, was cordial with limits imposed by his party’s dynamics.

Eric Cantor, who was supposed to be Boehner’s successor, unexpectedly lost his seat in a nomination fight last year, just as he had the chance to become the first Jewish Speaker of the House, and his defeat apparently delayed Boehner’s decision to leave, until now after the Pope has visited the United States, and spoken before the Congress in joint session.  This event brought out the tears so common to Boehner, a devout Catholic.

Now the issue is who should succeed Boehner, two heartbeats away from the Presidency, with new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  of California favored even though he has only been in Congress nine years, has sponsored no important legislation, and never would have been in this position had Eric Cantor not been defeated  last year.

McCarthy seems pleasant enough on a personal basis, actually more than Gingrich, Livingston, Hastert, and now Boehner, but will the right wing Tea Party movement be satisfied with him, and will he be responsible enough to conduct himself with a willingness to work with President Obama for the next year?

What if a true right wing extremist ends up as Speaker, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a possible successor seen as a true extremist and often compared by many to David Duke, the former KKK leader, due to Scalise’s opposition to a Martin Luther King Holiday in Louisiana, one of the last states to adopt it?

America cannot tolerate a right wing extremist to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it can be hoped that, under the present circumstances, Kevin McCarthy become Speaker, but somehow, although unlikely, hope that disillusionment with the Republican control of Congress leads to Democratic control of the House, as well as the Senate, to occur in the 2016 national elections.

Since the House is gerrymandered, giving the GOP control despite more total popular votes for the chamber being Democratic, this seems unlikely, but those who feel it is urgent that the next Democratic President have both chambers of Congress willing to work with him or her, must work very hard to try to elect a Congress controlled by the Democrats!

New Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy A Vast Improvement Over Eric Cantor!

The Republicans have selected their new Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, in the aftermath of the defeat in the Virginia primary of Congressman Eric Cantor.

Kevin McCarthy of California becomes the fastest rising figure to House leadership in American history, being in the House only seven years, and being Majority Whip after only four years.

McCarthy has a winning personality; has the ability to cross the aisle to make deals; and is seen as someone who, while promoting the Republican cause, is not a man who will show the kind of lack of respect for the President and the White House that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and so many others have demonstrated in the past three and a half years!

A kinder, more gentle approach does legions for anyone in any field of work, and McCarthy will be a vast improvement over Eric Cantor.

It would be a good move for McCarthy to become Speaker of the House, replacing John Boehner, IF the GOP holds on to the House in the midterm elections. Boehner has worn out his welcome, and with a Speaker McCarthy, it is possible to imagine SOME progress on SOME issues, and at least, a more cordial relationship with President Obama, which sets a good example for the nation, as the country is sick and disgusted with the constant confrontation of the past three and a half years!

Of course, the Tea Party whackos will fight a more genial McCarthy, but interestingly, they were unable to prevent his elevation!

One could imagine a Ronald Reagan-Thomas “Tip” O’Neill relationship between Barack Obama and Kevin McCarthy, something that was never possible with John Boehner, and certainly would NOT have happened with Eric Cantor!

So the Cantor defeat, even if it elevates Professor David Brat to the Congress, arguably worse than Cantor, at least it brought us Kevin McCarthy as a potential future Speaker!

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer Self Destructs His Presidential Campaign!

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has been hinting very strongly that he plans to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, if no one else does, or even if others do run.

Well, Brian, you can forget it after your wild, wooly comments to NATIONAL JOURNAL, which did an interview and detailed article on the former Montana Governor, who actually was quite effective in that position, and can have a charming personality.

But Schweitzer totally unraveled, trying to be funny, but really striking out.

He spoke of California Senator Dianne Feinstein as if she was a street walker when she seemed shocked about government spying, when she well knew such was going on, something one could, rightfully, criticize, but NOT in the way that Schweitzer did. Can you imagine if he were President and had to face Feinstein, a senior Democrat, in meetings at the White House?

But even worse, Schweitzer made the statement that Southern men are effeminate in their moves and gestures, and referred to Eric Cantor, the soon to leave House Majority Leader, stating that Schweitzer’s “Gaydar” made him sense the gayness of Southerners, although he said, apparently, Cantor is not gay.

What kind of comment is that to make about anyone, and to label a whole geographical section of men as being that? This is extremely looney behavior, and not funny at all! And imagine having to deal with Southern members of Congress after saying that!

A President must have diplomacy and tact, which Schweitzer, apparently, does not have at all!

Schweitzer might have made an interesting race, but now it is a joke in concept more than ever, even if he chooses to put himself out there!

The best chance, although highly remote, of a politician from “Big Sky Country” being President is now part of history for sure! Suggestion to Brian Schweitzer, disappear, as you have effectively lost any chance of serving in Washington DC for anything in the future, including an appointment to a Cabinet position by a President Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat! You have blown any chance you had for national service with your big mouth! Be gone!

Did Veiled Anti Semitism Help To Defeat Eric Cantor In His Congressional District?

Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, lost his party’s nomination to an opponent who constantly talked about his Christian faith, and credited his victory to God!

Cantor is the ONLY non Christian Republican officeholder in Congress, a proud Jew of the Conservative (moderate) brand of Judaism, and a very strong supporter of Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He managed to win public office in Congress, and earlier in the state legislature, despite his being jewish in an area around Richmond, where the Jewish population is only one fourth of one percent!

Since only 65,000 people voted in the GOP primary, in an area with many rural voters, many of whom have never interacted with Jews, it makes one wonder if anti Semitism may have played a role in his defeat. The margin of victory, about 6,500 votes, makes that scenario a possibility!

This is not an assertion that Eric Cantor lost for this reason, as his arrogance and cockiness, and lack of contact with much of his district, spending an inordinate amount of time in nearby Washington, DC as second ranking Republican, certainly played a major role in his defeat. His stand on immigration reform may also have undermined him, plus the opposition of right wing talk show hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin (himself Jewish).

But since there is a right wing Christian element of anti Semitism out there in the population, particularly in rural areas, even the thought or possibility of Cantor’s religious beliefs playing a role in his defeat, is very disturbing!

It is certainly of concern, in any case, that the Republican Party in Congress now is all white (except for appointed Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina), all Christian (much of it extreme right wing), and heavily male and Southern or Great Plains.

This is not representative of America now, or its long range future!

Eric Cantor Not Only Congressional Leader Defeated For Re-election

The defeat of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in his Congressional primary in Virginia by David Brat, was stunning and shocking, but not the first time that a Congressional leader was defeated for renomination or reelection.

Other prominent cases include:

Senator Richard Lugar, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, of Indiana in 2012 by Richard Mourdock

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota in 2004 by John Thune

House Speaker Tom Foley of Washington State in 1994 by George Nethercutt

Former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois in 1994 by Michael Flanagan

Congressman Emanuel Celler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman of New York, in 1972 by Elizabeth Holtzman

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas of Illinois in 1950 by Everett Dirksen

Senator Robert La Follette, Jr of Wisconsin in 1946 by Joseph McCarthy

Notice that ONLY Cantor, Lugar and La Follette, Jr. were Republican officeholders defeated, while the others listed were all Democrats.

So it is newsworthy and highly unusual for Congressional leaders and prominent members to lose reelection!

Tea Party And Right Wing Talk Radio Against Kevin McCarthy As House Majority Leader!

Now that Eric Cantor is being forced out of Congress by his Virginia district, the battle is on over who should be House Majority Leader, and the Tea Party Movement and Right Wing Talk Radio has come out fighting against present House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.

Right wing radio critics, including Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, who worked against Eric Cantor and for his opponent in the primary, David Brat, condemn McCarthy as part of the “Establishment”, as much as Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner, and the Tea Party is ready to fight anyone connected to any cooperation on any matter with Barack Obama. Despite strong opposition and criticism by Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy toward Barack Obama, they can all be accused of making some agreements with him, including ending the government shutdown, and planning some kind of immigration reform, although far less than Obama has wanted.

The fact is that McCarthy, as conservative as he is, comes across as “moderate”, less combative in rhetoric, more congenial, a more pleasant persona than either Cantor or Boehner. The fact that he comes from California is seen, however, as a negative, since the Tea Party gets its strength from the “heartland” of the nation.

The fear is that if McCarthy becomes second ranking House Republican, one is looking at the potential future Speaker of the House, as Cantor was thought to be, until his defeat this week.

So the civil war in the GOP continues to fester and boil over!