House Minority Whip Leads Political Ambushes

Navigating Congress has become a lot harder for first-term Democratic lawmakers since House Minority  Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took charge.

Since January, Cantor has deployed a team of expert debaters skilled in arcane parliamentary procedure to ambush newbies from politically-vulnerable districts on the House floor, Politico reported.

In the hopes of eliciting YouTube worthy gaffes, Cantor’s staff  prepared a list of the 42 weakest Democrats and has even written scripts to aid lawmakers in peppering their Freshmen Democratic colleagues with unexpected and off-topic questions -- the political equivalent of guerrilla warfare.

“This is about accountability and being the party of honest opposition,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told Politico. “Members speaking on the floor have an obligation to talk straight with the American people, and if Democrats are going to run this place, they have a responsibility to know what it is they are talking about before they try to pass it.”

In response, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have at times shepherded new lawmakers off the floor until they have been trained to hit back effectively, according to Politico.

When elder statesmen come late to the rescue, though, the outcome can be brutal.

Ohio Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy recently found herself knocked off guard when having to explain why she didn’t vote to curb AIG bonuses as she introduced an amendment on a public service bill, Politico reported.

Because her ambusher, Virginia Foxx (R -N.C.), controlled time for questioning Kilroy was frequently interrupted.

Eventually, her time expired, but the encounter lives on here:


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