The political turbulence in recent days between Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Majority Leader Eric Cantor over a flood-insurance bill may offer a window on early jockeying for top positions in the House GOP when Speaker John Boehner departs.
Boehner has expressed no intention of leaving anytime soon, but he will step aside someday. Cantor and Hensarling are both talked about as potential successors, and disagreements between them can raise political questions.
Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, is widely seen as the odds-on favorite to replace Boehner, with broad support across the conference.
“That means Cantor and his staff—they look around and wonder about challengers,” a senior House lawmaker said Wednesday. “They see three or four guys, and Hensarling’s right there at the top.”
On the flood bill, some in the House Republican Conference said they were disappointed that Cantor bypassed the normal committee process to push through a deal with Democrats. Hensarling, a Texan who chairs the Financial Services Committee, would normally control the makings of such a bill. Yet in the end, Hensarling and 85 other Republicans—including 11 other House committee chairs—voted against the measure Cantor worked out.
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