Eric Cantor

Cantor Loss Could Lead to Walden Promotion

The upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday could be a boon for Oregon, as Congressman Greg Walden will seek to step up from his current GOP leadership post.

Walden, the lone Republican in Oregon's congressional delegation, could be in the mix for a loftier leadership position after Cantor’s July resignation following his surprise defeat at the hands of a little-known economics professor backed by the Tea Party in this week's Virginia primary election. 

Walden easily survived his own Tea Party challenge in Oregon's primary last month.

Walden chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee. He is close to House Speaker John Boehner, who is coming to Oregon for a Walden fundraiser. Walden is friendly with Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, who wasted no time launching his bid to succeed Cantor.

Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes says Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who chairs the Republican conference — the fourth ranking GOP leadership perch — also is interested in Cantor's former job. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California is next in the leadership pecking order and can be expected to vie to move up.

Converging Fiscal Policy Dilemmas

Conservative Republicans want to force a final showdown over Obamacare, which coincides with another vote on the federal debt ceiling and unraveling inequities caused by across-the-board spending cuts ordered by sequestration.When Congress returns after its August recess, another financial crisis looms as conservative Republicans threaten to shut down the federal government unless Obamacare is defunded.

Shutting down the federal government is probably never a good things, but it may be especially bad timing this fall in light of new leaks showing privacy abuses by the National Security Agency and smoldering trouble in the Middle East as Egypt tips back to a dictatorships. Even Greece is making noises it needs another bailout, which in the past has put a damper on international economic recovery.

Egged on by groups such as the Heritage Foundation and former House GOP rabble-rouser Jim DeMint, conservative Republicans are demanding a final political showdown on the Affordable Care Act. They say they are willing to risk a government shutdown and the economic and political consequences to block the signature achievement of President Obama in his first term. Many are out on the political hustings encouraging voters to pressure their representatives to sign the defund-Obamacare petition.