On June 19, House Republicans selected Representative Kevin McCarthy of California’s 23rd congressional district as their new majority leader (beginning July 31st). McCarthy will replace ousted majority leader Eric Cantor, of Virginia’s 7th congressional district. McCarthy defeated Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho’s 1st congressional district in a closed-door, secret ballot meeting. Both McCarthy and Labrador are regarded in GOP circles as competent, if not electric, party up-and-comers who can “hold down the fort” until the upcoming November elections.
Also selected during this process was new House majority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s 1st congressional district. Scalise takes the place of McCarthy, who had previously held the post. To win the job, Scalise bested Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois’ 6th congressional district and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana’s of Indiana’s 3rd congressional district. The rise of Scalise, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, is considered a marked victory for the party’s far right-wing.
In a 12-month period that has already witnessed the retirement announcements of education giants Chairman (HELP) Tom Harkin of Iowa and Ranking Member (Ed. and Workforce) George Miller of California’s 11th congressional district, these two additional changes to congressional leadership might seem like no more than mere afterthoughts. They should not be viewed in that manner, however, as the behavior of the Republican-led House between now and the time of the nation’s midterms may very well tell us a great deal about what we, as the music education community, should plan to expect from the GOP with regard to our issue, moving forward.
–Christopher Woodside, Assistant Executive Director, NAfME