Unseated. House majority leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced yesterday he will step down from his leadership position in Congress in light of his defeat in the GOP primary. Voters in his conservative district chose David Brat, an economics professor who had local tea party support, to run for Cantor’s seat at the end of his seventh term. Two Republican congressmen are vying to replace Cantor: Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. Leadership elections will be next Thursday.
Airborne. Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday today with a parachute jump from a helicopter. Bush has marked every fifth birthday since he turned 75 by jumping out of an aircraft. Though a form of Parkinson’s disease cost him the use of his legs, the former president made a tandem jump with a retired Army sergeant in Kennebunkport, Maine.
VA reform. The Senate yesterday overwhelmingly approved a bill to give veterans more healthcare choices and start reforming their broken medical system. The Senate bill would authorize about $35 billion over three years to pay for outside care for veterans, as well as hire hundreds of doctors and nurses and lease 26 new health facilities in 17 states and Puerto Rico. A House bill approved this week would spend about $620 million on the same measures over the same period. President Barack Obama said he is ready to sign the law once Congress works out the differences between the two bills.
Senseless. Police have identified the perpetrator of an Oregon school shooting as a straight-laced, religious young man who had a passion for guns. Friends and family say they never would have expected 15-year-old Jared Michael Padgett to turn violent on his classmates. Padgett used an assault rifle and a handgun, both from his home, in the shooting. He killed 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman and then took his own life. Police have not said whether they believe Padgett had a specific target when he arrived at Reynolds High School in Troutdale on Tuesday morning or planned a random shooting.
The trial of last century. This week marks the 20th anniversary of the murders of OJ Simpson’s wife, Nicole Brown, and Ron Goldman, whose deaths set off the media circus of the century. Simpson was acquitted of the murder, but is now imprisoned for a different crime. He is serving a 33-year sentence in Reno, Nev., for his role in the kidnapping and armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.