House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is intentionally sidelining one of his own Republican committee chairmen — and the chairman’s attempts to pass conservative reforms — in order to better secure his own path to the speakership.
Informed sources in the House, Senate and outside groups tell The Daily Caller that a shift in leadership is going to come sooner than expected, and Cantor is fighting hard for the new spot.
Speaker of the House John Boehner will likely step down if the Republicans fail to take the Senate in 2014; and even if Republicans do win, the rumor is Boehner isn’t interested in sticking around in the unpopular gig for too long anyway. This leaves his top deputy, Cantor, in a strong position to succeed Boehner at the helm in the next two years, and Cantor’s aspirations for the speakership are obvious.
Cantor’s alleged target, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, poses a rare threat to Cantor’s rise: He has strong conservative bona fides, once heading the conservative Republican Study Committee and often fighting for conservative reforms. He has also been around long enough – including serving as chairman of the House Republican Conference – to earn the respect of more moderate, “establishment” Republicans.
It’s not certain Hensarling even wants to be speaker, with sources close to him playing coy, but it’s clear to conservatives that Cantor sees his colleague as a threat to his rise.