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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 CantorSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district 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 McCarthyTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight 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.