A Non-Texan's Guide to Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling, Potential House Majority Leaders
House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor went down to ignominious defeat in his Republican primary in Virginia last night, becoming the first sitting majority leader to lose a party primary in the position's history. In the upset's aftermath, two North Texas representatives -- Pete Sessions of Dallas and Jeb Hensarling, whose gerrymandered district includes parts of Dallas County and extends far enough southeast to include Palestine -- have emerged as potential contenders for the seat.
house.gov U.S. Representatives Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling. Both are on the right. Sessions is the one with grayer hair.
Here in Dallas, we know Sessions and Hensarling well, so we thought we'd provide the rest of the country with a sampling of some of the pair's quotes, votes and moments -- because, really, we're sorry about that whole Ted Cruz thing, America.
1. Sessions believes that comprehensive healthcare reform is unnecessary because Americans have "some of the greatest health care in the world." In the World Health Organization's most recent health care rankings the U.S. ranked 37th. In a more recent study performed by The Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. ranked last among seven developed countries.
2. After the infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, Sessions accused Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson of forcing "their liberal values on the rest of the country." Exposed nipples, apparently, are a liberal value. (OK, we'll cop to that.) Then, in 2007, Sessions became possibly the first member of Congress to host a fundraiser at a burlesque club. Burlesque performers wear pasties.
3. Sessions compared the most recent government shutdown to World War II, telling a protester: "We're not French, we don't surrender."
4. Sessions believes that "women bear a disproportionate share of the hard work. Birthing, carrying, the whole thing -- it's hard work." He said that just before he voted against a bill that would lessen work requirements for low-income moms so they could spend more time with their children.
5. Sessions thinks the House GOP caucus has learned better insurgency tactics from the Taliban.
More than anything, Sessions just raises a lot of money, looks a bit dim and appears too often to lack curiosity. There are worse contenders in the field.
1. Hensarling either doesn't understand the debt ceiling or is too disingenuous to admit he does. He told CNN that not ensuring the nation's ability to pay the interest on its debts is not actually a threat to the country's credit rating.
2. Hensarling has voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, employment protections for the LGBTQ community, any sort of stem cell research, regulating the subprime mortgage industry, hate-crime protections for the LGBTQ community and net neutrality.
3. Hensarling has voted for constitutionally banning flag burning, prohibiting the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, denying Medicare coverage for those who can't afford the copay, making the PATRIOT Act permanent, allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant, building a fence along the length of the U.S.-Mexican border, ending birthright citizenship and terminating funding for NPR.
4. In explaining one of his many votes against the Affordable Care Act, Hensarling related the story of his mother's surgery to remove a tumor. Henserling was 54 when he made the comments, so unless his mom had him at a very, very young age, she like was on Medicare when she had the surgery.
5. Hensarling feels that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, those bedrocks of the American social contract, are cruel ponzi schemes.
There you have it America! Two more of the Lone Star state's finest, ready to take their place in leading the nation. (Really, again, we can't emphasize enough how sorry we are about Ted.)