Sessions's TARP vote could haunt him

Sessions's TARP vote could haunt him
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Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who is touting himself as the conservative pick to replace Rep. Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington GOP faces tough battle to become 'party of health care' 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington MORE (R-Va.) as House majority leader, voted in favor of the “TARP” bill that bailed out the financial sector.

The vote could dog Sessions, who is campaigning to win the No. 2 spot among House Republicans against Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySteve King defends remarks on rape, incest Omar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King MORE (R-Calif.), the majority whip.

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McCarthy is widely seen as the favorite among establishment Republicans, but he voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program that is widely despised in conservative circles.

Sessions is casting himself as a conservative pick in the House majority leader’s race, especially on immigration.

But he voted for TARP twice, first when it came up on the House floor and failed and then days later when it returned and was ultimately passed.

McCarthy voted against it both times.

The financial rescue package has long been a sore spot for conservatives, and in many ways laid the seeds for the upstart Tea Party movement. Dave Brat, the economics professor that ousted Cantor in Tuesday’s primary, criticized Cantor for backing the TARP.

The fight to replace Cantor is a two-man race between McCarthy and Sessions after House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) announced Thursday he would not pursue the post.

Several prominent conservative pundits have already criticized McCarthy as a potential leader.