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McCarthy's Rise To Majority Leader Has Implications For California


Californians are now leading both parties in the US House of Representatives. Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield was elected majority leader today. San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi is the House minority leader.

Political Analyst Dan Schnur says McCarthy’s election will benefit the state.

“To have both the majority leader and the minority leader in the House of Representatives means that the House leadership will have an understanding of California," he says. "And, as importantly, the state business and labor and community and political leaders will have direct pipeline into the decision making process in Washington.”

But Schnur says McCarthy's new role is likely bad news for California's High Speed Rail project, which is championed by Governor Jerry Brown. McCarthy has said he'll work to cut off federal funding for the project.

"McCarthy already had a great deal of influence in the house delegation. Now it gets even greater," Schnur says. "It’s hard to see Governor Brown’s chances for getting money out of Congress for the rail project improving. In fact they probably just got a lot worse."

McCarthy was first elected to the State Assembly in 2002. He was elected to Congress in 2006 and is widely seen as a moderate. Republican State Senator Mimi Walters worked with McCarthy in the legislature and applauds his election as House majority leader.

“I think it puts California more on the map on a nation-wide basis, especially for the Republicans," she says. "He represents us very well and I think it’s a great thing for California.”

But Democratic State Senator Mark Leno says McCarthy’s election could be a mixed blessing for California. Leno would like to see McCarthy take action on federal immigration reform.

“75 percent of California’s agricultural industry has undocumented workers that support it," Leno says. "And if they were all expelled from our country we would not have an agricultural industry in California. So he knows the importance of immigration reform.” 

However, Leno believes more conservative House Republicans won’t let the issue come up for a vote.

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