News / USA

US Congressional Leaders React to Republican Shake-Up

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (r), walks with Rep. Doug Collins, after the final votes of the week in the House, June 12, 2014.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (r), walks with Rep. Doug Collins, after the final votes of the week in the House, June 12, 2014.
Cindy Saine
This week's surprise primary defeat of the second most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Eric Cantor, is still reverberating on Capitol Hill.  Some lawmakers and analysts are asking if this shake-up in the House Republican leadership will make it even harder than it already is for the divided government to tackle pressing problems such as immigration.  

Republican House Speaker John Boehner faced reporters Thursday for the first time since Eric Cantor became the first Majority leader ever to lose in a primary race to another member of his own party.  Speaker Boehner called on Republicans to pull together to oppose the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama.

“This is a time for unity. This is a time to focus on what we all know is true, that the president’s policies have failed the American people," said Boehner.

Cantor lost his Virginia primary race to economics professor David Brat, who was supported by local conservative Tea Party groups.  Brat accused Cantor of being too close to big business and of supporting amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants.  Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave her view of Cantor and his defeat.

“And what is going on here is the Republican Party going even further to the right.  The representative [Cantor], who is here, and is here still, was a hand-maiden of the Tea Party; they wanted their own person," said Pelosi.

Some analysts say that the American people are polarized in their political views, and that the divided U.S. government - with the White House and Senate controlled by Democrats and the House controlled by Republicans - reflects that big ideological gap across the country between Republicans and Democrats.  Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia says he is not sure if Congress’s ability to govern can become any worse than it already is.

“But I will say Cantor’s loss will make Republican leaders very skittish and Republican members of Congress skittish about doing anything with immigration reform, because in this case, Cantor very much rejected the notion that he was soft on immigration," said Skelley. "Brat would say Cantor is in favor of amnesty and Cantor would very strongly respond to that, ‘no I’m not.'”

Pelosi blames Republicans for a lack of action on what she views as critical issues.

“Under the current leadership on the Republican side, we have had a shutdown of government, we have not passed immigration [reform], we have not passed the Voting Rights Act, which has always been bipartisan," she said.

Republican Speaker Boehner blamed the lack of action on immigration reform on President Obama.

“The president is going to have to demonstrate that he can be trusted to implement a law the way it was passed," he said.

Next week, House Republican members will choose a successor to Eric Cantor, and several candidates are already vying for the position.  Analysts say whomever takes over as the next Majority leader may reveal a lot about which way Republicans are headed.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More