In an unprecedented upset, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) became the first modern House majority leader to lose renomination to Congress Tuesday. Leader Cantor, who held a 26-1 cash advantage over his opponent, college professor and Tea Party activist David Brat (R), lost by 11 points. His unexpected defeat has serious implications regarding the House GOP’s legislative agenda, the make-up of the House GOP leadership, and the future of the Republican Party.
As House majority leader, Cantor—who assumed the role in 2011—has worked with House GOP leadership to set the congressional calendar and legislative agenda. In the coming weeks and months, the House must address numerous key issues, including: trade promotion agreements and free trade agreements; reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank; housing finance reform; immigration; highway funding; tax extenders; appropriations; and continued oversight activities.
With Cantor stepping down from leadership effective July 31, the House GOP’s legislative agenda is now in flux. The House has a brief window to act on these and other issues before the August recess and midterm election, though legislative activity during the lame-duck session following the election is expected.
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