Lee Terry, Bill Shuster, Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, last week became one of two people who primarily shape the legislative agenda for the Republican-controlled House. He raises big funds for GOP election campaigns around the country and will try to tape up a sometimes-fractured Republican Party.

BY CATHY TAYLOR / WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF
Published: Aug. 2, 2014 Updated: Aug. 3, 2014 8:33 a.m.

WASHINGTON – Rep. Kevin McCarthy marked the start of his tenure as the No. 2 in House leadership with a prayer and a tweet: “Humbled & blessed to have my friend Pastor Roger Spradlin of Bakersfield deliver the opening prayer this morning.”

McCarthy actually needed prayers and more as Thursday unfolded and House members initially failed to find common ground on how to handle the flow of immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexican border. And that was just among the Republicans, never mind the Democrats.

It was an inauspicious launch for McCarthy, who last week became the person who, along with the speaker, shapes the legislative agenda for the Republican-controlled House, raises big funds for GOP election campaigns around the country and tries to tape up a sometimes-fractured Republican Party.

He and the leadership team on Friday maneuvered through the imbroglio.

“I’ve always said Kevin is a very pragmatic person,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a fellow California Republican from Costa Mesa. “He assumed his leadership position right in the middle of the battle. And that’s not always the most comfortable way to ascend into a new job. But he’s doing well, I’d say.”

Rep. Ken Calvert, a Corona Republican, said: “He’s been thrown into the crucible right away. I’m real proud of him.”

On the other hand, Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., called the process “ridiculous.”

After the successful late- night vote Friday, he shook many GOP hands as he exited the chamber.

“I think from a conference point of view long term, this will only help and build and tackle bigger issues going forward,” McCarthy said by email afterward in response to a Register question about GOP unity, especially as the midterm election nears. “Though the Senate already packed up and headed home, it has a responsibility to act.”

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