When Eric Cantor bid the House farewell in a floor speech Thursday , he apparently meant it.
At the time, Cantor had not yet disclosed his intent to resign his seat as of Aug. 18. He was merely ending his tenure as majority leader a little less than two months after his sudden primary defeat in June , handing the gavel off to his successor, Kevin McCarthy of California.
But when it came time for a major test for Cantor's House Republicans, the ousted Virginian was already long gone.
Cantor was among the 20 lawmakers who did not vote Friday night , on what was meant to be the first official date of the five-week August recess. The House, like the Senate, was scheduled to go home the day before, but lawmakers were forced to stay an extra day to get consensus on legislation to address the child migrant border surge at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Had Cantor, suddenly thrust into the rank and file, stuck around that extra day, GOP leaders would have had one less vote to worry about whipping in the scramble to secure the necessary support.
He also would have had a chance to leave one last mark on his immigration record; disagreements over the topic helped cost him his seat and his chance of someday becoming the speaker. The second to last vote of the evening was on legislation to scale back the 2012 executive order granting stays of deportation young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents.
The final vote was on boosting funding for the Iron Dome defense system in Israel. Cantor's departure means there are no longer any Jewish Republicans serving on Capitol Hill.
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