Today in Liberty: Liberty Republican Raul Labrador considering a run for House Majority Leader, Obamacare heads back to court

“We must have government, but we must watch them like a hawk.” — Millicent Fenwick

— House Republican leadership race update: It looks like Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is close to sealing up the nod for House Majority Leader. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) decided not to run for the post. Rep. Jeff Sessions (R-TX) also bowed out. Word is that Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), who is part of the libertarian-conservative faction in the chamber, is considering a run against McCarthy. “Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said in a brief interview Thursday night that he is considering running for majority leader and hopes to make a decision on Friday,” the Washington Post reports. “Labrador said many of his colleagues were urging him to run on Thursday and that he is doing his due diligence to weigh the pros and cons of a bid challenging McCarthy.” Labrador would be the better choice, from a limited government perspective, but he faces an uphill battle.

— Oh, and the race for Majority Whip: Meanwhile, the race to replace McCarthy as the next Majority Whip looks to be wide open. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) are the candidates who’ve emerged. “Scalise has the lead, having secured roughly 100 lawmakers, but Roskam is still working the conference, and has netted between 75 and 85 commitments. Stutzman, several sources said, has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 supporters — many of them from the conservative corner of the conference,” Politico explains. “This is all fluid, as each candidate tries to make the case that they’re better — and better prepared — than the other guy. Scalise has the most momentum, but he has not locked up the race.”

— How Cantor lost: There have been several dozen analyses written about outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) defeat on Tuesday night. James Hohmann and Jake Sherman have one of the best explanations we’ve seen on Cantor’s demise. And, quite literally, everything his campaign did backfired — from looking squishy to going negative against his opponent to losing touch with the district and so on.

— Ron Swanson speaks about Cantor: Well, not Ron Swanson, but Nick Offerman, the actor who plays the libertarian-ish character on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Offerman had some fun with Cantor’s loss last night at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, and it was hilarious. “I’m sure you all heard the news about Eric Cantor. On Tuesday he tragically got himself a job at Fox News,” Offerman joked, according to Politico. “He’s the first House majority leader to lose a primary since 1899, which is also the last time we were at war with Spain. So watch yourself, Spain.” Offerman identified himself as a “Bull Moose” in vein of Theodore Roosevelt and opined about the state of politics in the nation’s capital. “Between the Republicans and Democrats, this city has become — let’s face it — a noxious stink hole, where very little actually gets done because of the backstabbing, deceit and greed,” he said. “So, I just want to thank all of you for making a Hollywood like myself actor feel welcome.”

— Iraq is crumbing: And the Obama administration has some very difficult decisions to make. “Just more than three years after U.S. soldiers left the country, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken over hundreds of square miles ranging from Syria’s coast to the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit,” The Hill notes. “President Obama said all options are on the table and both Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Biden signaled U.S. action could be coming soon. Most observers agreed, however, that the administration had few if any good options for moving forward, adding to the gravity.” Republicans are quick to blame President Barack Obama for the rise of Islamic militants who are making their way to Baghdad, looking to score political points in an election year. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), for example, said repeatedly this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the United States had this war “won.” But the current situation in Iraq, as unfortunate and concerning as it is, proves critics of the push to war in 2002 and 2003 right.

— Obamacare headed back to court: Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) lawsuit against the Obama administration over its decision to continue the 75 percent premium subsidy for Congress and staffers to pay for Obamacare coverage. “The Wisconsin Republican is hoping to overturn the Obama administration’s decision to allow the federal government to pay for a portion of its employees’ health insurance. Most other federal workers — as well as many Americans who work in the private sector — have part of their health insurance paid by their employer. But the health law required most Hill staff and all lawmakers to go into the Obamacare exchanges, instead of staying in the regular federal employees health program,” Politico reports. “Johnson, whose lawsuit is backed by several other Republicans, argues that Obamacare does not allow the government to contribute to the exchange health plans. The Office of Personnel Management determined that the government can keep subsidizing these workers, but Johnson and some other Republicans disagreed.” The administration argues that Johnson doesn’t have standing to bring the case, meaning the Justice Department lawyers handling the case will almost certainly file a motion to dismiss. The case will go before U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach, an appointee of President George W. Bush, on July 7 at the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

— Rand Paul takes on immigration critics: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) defended his position on immigration reform in an op-ed at Breitbart, taking aim at those who mischaracterize his position as “amnesty” as well as laying out his own principles to move ahead on the issue. “I am for immigration reform because what we have now is untenable. I voted against the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill because it did not secure the border first. I will only support reform that has border security first as verifiable and ascertained by Congress, not the president,” Paul writes. “I support legal, not illegal, immigration. We must embrace immigration and immigrants, and we must recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make better lives for themselves. However, our current system is broken, and we cannot move towards reform until our border is truly and fully secure.” Conservatives should listen to Paul and follow his lead on immigration reform. The Senate bill wasn’t the right path, but a path forward on this issue is a political necessity. Just sayin’.

— Mah pork, save Thad Cochran for mah pork: Trent Lott, a former Senate Majority Leader turned lobbyist, cut an ad for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), the motives for which are all about cronyism. “Over the last three years, former Mississippi senator Trent Lott’s lobbying firm has been paid a total of $680,000 to represent the interests of shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., and his old Mississippi colleague Sen. Thad Cochran has always had an open door, working to approve $6 billion in contracts for Huntington Ingalls in the last two years alone for Coast Guard CuttersNavy Destroyers and an amphibious transport dock. A search of Cochran’s Senate websites brings up 110 hits for the company and Cochran toured one of their facilities in Mississippi as recently as March,” Time notes. “Now Lott, the lobbyist, is paying Cochran, the appropriator, back by shooting a 30-second campaign ad on his behalf. In a new ad released [on Thursday], Lott encourages Mississippians to vote for Cochran in a primary run-off with Tea Party insurgent Chris McDaniel.” After all, if Cochran isn’t reelected, who will help Lott score taxpayer dollars for his clients?

— Mike Rogers has a sad: The House Intelligence Committee chairman and supporter of the surveillance state whined about tech firms’ opposition at a CIA conference. Because, you know, statism. “We should be very mad at Google, Facebook and Microsoft,” Rogers said, according to Politico, ”because they’re doing a very dangerous thing [by opposing the USA FREEDOM Act].” He accused the firms of putting their “European business” ahead of “the national security of the United States for the next ten generations.” First, the USA FREEDOM Act was gutted. It’s a meaningless measure, at this point. Secondly, yes, the bottom line does matter. The New York Times recently noted that the NSA’s spying could cost tech firms billions over the next few years. Lastly, there is absolutely nothing that proves that this invasive domestic surveillance has prevented terrorist attacks inside the United States. It does, however, undermine privacy protections in the Fourth Amendment. Thankfully, this clown will be out of Congress next year.

— United Liberty presents #LibertyKaraoke with Dave Brat: That’s right, folks, United Liberty will host #LibertyKaraoke with Dave Brat on Thursday, June 19 at The Loft at 600 F in Washington, DC. We’re still working out the details, but this will be a private reception for Brat, who took out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) earlier this week, and a donation will be required to get in the door.

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